By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Attorneys representing NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers have filed a lawsuit against Google in an attempt to force the company to disclose private information about how it obtained the rights to the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games, according to Reuters. The suit, which was filed Monday in federal court in San Jose, California, is part of an ongoing class action lawsuit against the NFL over the Sunday Ticket’s distribution. 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 lawsuit is seeking $6 billion in damages for alleged extra costs paid by subscribers due to the one company exclusive.
The plaintiffs are not asking for compensatory damages from Google, but instead retail pricing, rights fees and subscriber numbers, Reuters writes. The newswire adds that the attorneys want to know of any “influence” the NFL has put on Google in its marketing and pricing plans for the Ticket. Google won the Ticket’s rights last December after it was a DIRECTV exclusive for 28 seasons. The tech giant this season is now selling the Ticket as an add-on package with YouTube TV (prices now start at $299 with a $50 discount) and as a standalone plan on YouTube Primetime Channels (prices now start at $399 with a $50 discount). This is Google’s first year of carrying the popular football package.
Reuters reports that Google’s attorneys say producing the requested information would be “unduly burdensome.” However, the plaintiffs have already been successful in obtaining previous facts about the Ticket that were once held secret by the league. In April, the league was forced to disclose that Amazon, ESPN, Apple and Roku also submitted bids for the Ticket contract before it was awarded to Apple in December 2022.
Reuters reports that the Sunday Ticket trial is expected early next year.
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— Phillip Swann