By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Google last December won the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket starting with the 2023 season, but new court documents show that Amazon, ESPN, Apple and Roku also submitted bids for the contract, according to The Athletic.
The publication reports that the disclosure was made in documents filed as part of an ongoing class action lawsuit against the NFL over the Sunday Ticket’s distribution. The lawsuit required the league to disclose all documents relating to the Ticket once a final agreement was reached, which it was on December 22, 2022. They show that in addition to Google, the four companies made bids and the NFL even considered taking the package of out-of-market games in house.
The class action lawsuit, which was originally filed when DIRECTV had the Ticket rights, is challenging the league’s authority to sell the package as an exclusive to one company. The plaintiffs say that arrangement allows that company to arbitrarily set prices higher than they normally would be if there were multiple carriers. The Athletic notes that the lawsuit is seeking $6 billion in damages for alleged extra costs paid by subscribers due to the one company exclusive.
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The publication also writes that the plaintiffs are questioning why Apple did not ultimately get the Ticket deal after news reports suggested for months it was the top candidate. They are suggesting that the Apple-NFL talks collapsed because Apple wanted to sell the Ticket at a lower price than what the league wanted. The NFL denies that this was the case.
Google this month released its Ticket pricing for YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels and, with the exception of one short-term discount, it’s more than what DIRECTV charged. See this article for more pricing details.
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— Phillip Swann