Roger Goodell on the Sunday Ticket verdict: “We feel strongly about our position”

It’s the annual gathering of the muckety-mucks and oligarchs in Sun Valley. As almost every year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sat down for an interview with CNBC.

Goodell was asked, among other things, about the recent Sunday Ticket verdict. You know, the verdict that came in at over $4.7 billion and which, if/when it becomes an official verdict, will triple to over $14 billion.

The lawsuit alleged that the 32 NFL franchises, operating under the auspices of Big Shield, were required to grossly overcharge DirecTV for its out-of-market Sunday Ticket package so that consumers would choose to watch games carried by CBS and Fox in their local markets. The jury found that the NFL violated federal antitrust laws over the 12-season period — and with respect to more than 2.4 million residential customers who paid the inflated price for the package.

“Well, we obviously disagree with the jury’s verdict and we’re obviously committed to following the legal process,” Goodell told CNBC, via a transcript distributed by the netwotk. “It’s a long process. We’re aware of that, but we feel very strongly about our position, our policy, particularly around media, that we make our — our sport available to the broadest possible audience. Sunday Ticket is just a free product. So we’re committed to following the legal process, all the way through, and making sure we get this right.”

They would get an even bigger audience for Sunday Ticket if they charged less for it. More people would get it, allowing them to watch the games they want to watch and not the game that is handpicked for the market they live in.

By “largest possible audience,” Goodell means “highest possible rating” (which translates to “most possible money”). Ratings rise as more people watch the CBS and/or Fox broadcasts on their local channels, adding up to the highest possible national total.

That said, the NFL will have some compelling arguments, both regarding whether it can avoid liability for antitrust violations and whether the damages calculation the jury allegedly came up with on their iPhone calculators is correct. must be rejected.

Either way, the jury’s verdict raises the stakes considerably. For everyone. Including Sunday Ticket customers from 2011 through 2022 who could end up with a check for potentially several thousand dollars. Possibly signed by Goodell himself.

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