By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
More than 30 years of experience covering TV technology.

Apple has filed a motion in federal court to reject a subpoena that would force the company to reveal internal company information about the NFL Sunday Ticket, according to a Reuters report. (See the motion here.)

The subpoena request comes from attorneys representing former NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers who have filed a lawsuit against DIRECTV and the NFL. The lawsuit, which was originally filed when DIRECTV had the Ticket rights, is challenging the league’s authority to sell the Ticket as an exclusive to one company, saying that arbitrarily sets a higher price.

Why Do Sunday Ticket Subscribers Want to Interview Apple?
Apple was one of the bidders for the Ticket last year and the plaintiffs are seeking private information from the tech giant that could bolster its argument that an exclusive Ticket deal requires the winning company to ask for a higher subscription price. There have been news reports that Apple dropped out of the bidding because the league would not permit it to offer the Ticket for a lower price or as part of an Apple TV+ subscription.

Reuters reports that Apple says in the motion to reject that the subpoena request, and a request to interview company executive Eddy Cue, is “unduly burdensome.”

The plaintiffs have also sued Google, which won the Ticket rights starting with this season. The Google suit, which does not ask for compensatory damages, seeks private information about how it obtained the rights to the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. Google has also opposed the move to obtain internal corporate information about the Ticket deal.

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.

The case, which is in a California federal court, is now scheduled for trial in February 2024.

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— Phillip Swann