Here’s How Much Your Local Sports Bar Is Paying For NFL Sunday Ticket

From a lawsuit filed against the NFL and DirecTV by a Manhattan bar. "3-Pay," and "5-Pay" refer to options for paying for the package in installments.

From a lawsuit filed against the NFL and DirecTV by a Manhattan bar. “3-Pay,” and “5-Pay” refer to options for paying for the package in installments.

If you think $252-$354/year is a lot to pay for DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, well… you’re right. But it’s also just a fraction of what even the smallest sports bar will pay to carry the exclusive add-on package.

Last month, a San Francisco bar filed suit against the NFL and DirecTV, alleging that the exclusivity deal between the country’s most popular sports league and its largest pay-TV provider has resulted in a monopoly that can charge exorbitant prices because of consumers’ inability to get the service through other means.

Now a New York bar has filed a similar complaint [PDF] in federal court, seeking class-action status to represent other commercial DirecTV customers who purchased Sunday Ticket.

In making its case, the New York plaintiff points out that the NFL is the only one of the four major U.S. sports leagues who sells its out-of-market pay-TV package on an exclusive basis. Others, like NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings, and NBA League Pass, are made available through multiple cable and satellite providers. Thus, the other three packages don’t cost consumers anywhere near as much money as Sunday Ticket.

To drive home that point, the complaint includes the above chart showing the rates for Sunday Ticket compared to MLB Extra Innings.

The least expensive commercial package, for bars with an occupancy of up to 50 people, costs nearly $1,500/year, nearly three times the cost of the MLB package. At larger occupancies, that ratio is even larger. For example, a bar that can fit up to 150 people will pay $4,630/year for Sunday Ticket, more than four times the cost of Extra Innings for the same size venue. And for mega-size venues with upwards of 5,000 guests, the annual cost for Sunday Ticket ($57,864) is more than 12 times the cost of the baseball package.

The biggest fee, for venues with occupancies larger than 10,000, is $122,895/year for Sunday Ticket. Compare that to the maximum of $8,800/year for Extra Innings, which is about 1/14 the amount of the football package.

There is the argument that Football, with its weekly ritual status, brings in significantly more patrons than baseball games that air every day, and therefore should cost more. But because bar owners have no other legal option for getting these NFL games, they are going to continue to make the claim that they would be paying at least slightly less if they weren’t locked into DirecTV.

AT&T recently acquired DirecTV for $49 billion. Sunday Ticket was so crucial to the deal that AT&T would have been able to walk away from the deal if DirecTV had not been able to secure a new exclusive contract with the NFL.

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