The US Supreme Court has refused an NFL and AT&T Inc’s DirecTV appeal which called for the court to overrule a lower court decision to revive a lawsuit that accuses them of overcharging for a satellite television package, meaning the lawsuit can move forward.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Sunday Ticket subscribers which costs $294 a season and allows subscribers to watch games that are not broadcast on their local television stations. The lower court’s ruling means that the lawsuit can move forward through the courts but could also settle so that individuals are partially reimbursed.
Several lawsuits were filed in 2015 on behalf of DirecTV customers arguing that the exclusive rights between themselves and the NFL were in breach of antitrust laws by eliminating access to the market. Los Angeles District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell dismissed the claims in 2017 stating that it had not been established that the NFL and DirecTV agreement eliminated competition as DirecTV was required to renegotiate every few years, giving competitors the chance to compete for the rights.
The San Francisco-based US 9th circuit court of appeals ruled that it had been established that without the agreement between the NFL and DirecTV there would a stronger market for broadcasts and there would be more games available to the public on television. With the Supreme Court rejecting the NFL appeal the lawsuit can be heard or settled depending on the parties’ position.