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

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

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

Goodell was asked about, among other things, the recent Sunday Ticket verdict. You know, the one that came in north of $4.7 billion and that, if/when it becomes an official judgment, will be trebled to more than $14 billion.

The trial focused on the allegation that the 32 NFL franchises, working under the auspices of Big Shield, required DirecTV to grossly overcharge for the Sunday Ticket out-of-market package, so that consumers would choose to watch the games served up by CBS and Fox in their local markets. The jury found that the NFL violated federal antitrust laws over the 12-season term — and as to more than 2.4 million residential customers who paid the inflated price for the package.

“Well, we obviously disagree with the jury verdict and we are committed obviously 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 policies, particularly on media, that we make our — our sport available to the broadest possible audience. Sunday Ticket is just a complimentary product. So we’re committed to following the litigation, all the way and making sure that we get this right.”

They would get an even larger 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 hand picked for the market where they live.

By saying “largest possible audience,” Goodell means “highest possible rating” (which leads to “most possible money”). The ratings climb higher if more people watch the CBS and/or Fox broadcasts on their local channels, which roll the numbers up to the biggest national number possible.

That said, the NFL will have some compelling arguments, both as to whether it can avoid liability for antitrust violations and as to whether the damages calculation that the jury allegedly concocted on their iPhone calculators should be rejected.

Regardless, the jury verdict raises the stakes considerably. For everyone. Including the Sunday Ticket customers from 2011 through 2022 who could end up eventually getting a check for possibly several thousand dollars. Possibly signed by Goodell himself.

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