Shaun Zinck Aug. 14, 2015, 11:15am


Ninth Inning Inc. is suing the National Football League in a class action representing restaurants and bars over the league's agreement with DirecTV and its broadcasting of “out of market” games.

Ninth Inning Inc. filed the lawsuit July 13 in U. S. District Court for the Central District of  California against the NFL Inc., NFL Enterprises and DirecTV.

According to the complaint, the NFL is illegally protecting and increasing its monopoly profits from DirecTV over its out of market games. DirecTV is the sole distributor of the out of market games, and its agreement with the NFL allows the satellite company to charge “supra-competitive prices” for its NFL Sunday Ticket, the lawsuit said.

The agreement allows DirecTV to raise its prices for the NFL Sunday Ticket and afternoon out of market games, according to the suit.

“Every NFL member team owns the initial rights to the broadcast of that team’s games,” the lawsuit said. “However, the teams have chosen to collude with each other, and to grant the NFL the exclusive right to market those games outside each team’s home market. But for the NFL teams’ agreement in which DirecTV has joined, teams would compete against each other in the market for NFL football programming, which would likely induce more competitive pricing.”

Ninth Inning seeks class status for all restaurants and bars that purchased the NFL Sunday Ticket, plus an unspecified amount in damages. It is represented by attorneys Michael D. Hausfeld, Michael P. Lehmann, Bonny E. Sweeney, Christopher L. Lebsock, Irving Scher and Scott A. Martin of Hausfeld in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City; and Lee Alber, Brian Murray and Lionel Z. Glancy of Glancy Pongray & Murray in Los Angeles and New York City.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-05261.

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