A flurry of antitrust lawsuits filed by both residential and commercial customers against DirecTV (NYSE: T) and the NFL over the exclusivity of NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market games has been combined into a nationwide class action complaint, with law firm Robins Kaplan LLP selected as the co-lead for the plaintiffs.
Twenty-six individual actions against DirecTV and the NFL allege that the Sunday Ticket programming package gives exclusive TV rights to all NFL games not played in a given local area to a single provider, thus violating anti-trust laws.
"The proposed class of fans and commercial establishments allege that they are being forced to pay artificially high prices to view and show NFL games under the unique and anticompetitive terms of the NFL's and DirecTV's agreements," said Kellie Lerner, partner at Robins Kaplan, in a statement.
In competing to represent the plaintiffs, law firms Langer Grogan & Driver and Cohen Milstein touted their previously successful plaintiff representations in class-action anti-trust suits against Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.
However, Robins Kaplan and another firm vying to be co-lead, Hausfeld LLP, successfully argued that the NFL Sunday Ticket broadcast arrangement is fundamentally different than how the MLB and NHL distribute out-of-market games. Those leagues distribute out-of-market games to myriad regional sports networks.
The case is being argued in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell.
- read this Robbins Kaplan LLP press release
- read this Law 360 story
DirecTV, NFL face class-action suit over Sunday Ticket bundling