NFL Settles 'Sunday Ticket' Lawsuit

After nearly four years of litigation, the National Football League has
settled a class-action lawsuit brought against it by a number of fans claiming
that the league violated antitrust regulations regarding how its 'NFL Sunday
Ticket' package is sold by DirecTV Inc.

Pending approval from a Philadelphia Federal Court judge, DirecTV will offer
viewers the option of purchasing the 16-week package on a week-to-week basis for
$29.99 or in full for $169. The league will also pay $7.5 million in cash to 1.8
million subscribers who purchased the subscription package since 1997, when the
suit was first filed.

And the league will pay $2.9 million worth of coupons to
consumers filing claims to use in purchasing league merchandise through its Web site
, $3.7
million in legal fees and 2.3 million in other administration fees.

NFL director of corporate communications Brian McCarthy said that while the
league admitted to no wrongdoing, it wanted to end the long-running dispute. 'We
would rather focus on the action on the field than in the courts,' he said. 'We
still believe that the full subscription will be the preferred choice of the

McCarthy added that weekly sales would begin with the 2001 season and run
through the 2002 season, at which time the league can reassess the

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.