The lawsuit was filed in U.S. federal court in San Jose, California, after the National Football League struck a deal with Google for exclusive broadcast rights for the NFL Sunday Ticket. The deal runs through 2030. With Sunday Ticket, subscribers are able to access out-of-market NFL games that would be unavailable otherwise. Starting in September, those who subscribe to the Sunday Ticket via YouTube TV will be able to stream games. The broadcast package was held by DirecTV before YouTubeTV won the rights.
The plaintiffs claim the NFL, its teams, and DirecTV worked together in order to allegedly boost the price of Sunday Ticket while also reducing the availability of televised football games. They are seeking $6 billion in damages.
Though Google isn’t a party in the antitrust litigation, which has a trial set for some time in early 2024, the attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that Google is withholding information unfairly, which could also be used to prosecute claims against the NFL as well as against DirecTV. Attorneys have asked a judge to order Google to respond to a demand for information.
Information on Google’s rights fees, retail pricing, and subscriber numbers has been requested by the plaintiffs. Google’s attorneys state that turning over that type of information would create an “unduly burdensome” situation.
According to a report from Reuters, the plaintiffs’ claims about pricing were previously denied by the NFL, which said its exclusive distribution deal was “presumptively legal.
However, Google has agreed to provide three documents related to its deal with the NFL for the Sunday Ticket, according to the filing from the attorneys for the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs’ attorneys responded that the three documents do “not even scratch the surface” of relevant information needed in the litigation.
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