NFL sues insurance companies over Sunday Ticket antitrust litigation

As the NFL continues to battle with insurance companies (spoiler alert) unwilling to pay benefits in concussion lawsuits and settlements, Big Shield has a new fight with Big Insurance over availability. of coverage for a Sunday Ticket antitrust action filed against the NFL in 2015.

Sports attorney Daniel Wallach revealed the lawsuit, filed last November, in a tweet. Wallach then forwarded the complaint and the most recent filing — a document confirming that insurance companies have until March 13 to respond to the lawsuit — to PFT.

The generalities go back to the origins of an industry based on receiving money and, in the right circumstances, paying money. When a company’s only product is money, it doesn’t want to give it away when it shouldn’t. Often he does not want to give money when he should.

In this specific case, the NFL claims that the insurance companies responsible for the “excess” coverage (in English, the NFL burned its main insurance policy and then turned to backups) refused to pay the money that would cover attorney fees and other expenses in defending against the still pending antitrust case. The NFL alleges that excess coverage providers initially appeared to acknowledge responsibility for providing coverage before changing the tone in 2021.

Surplus insurance companies reportedly tried to tie the 2015 antitrust case to a similar lawsuit from 1997, arguing that the two issues amounted to a predating “claim” to the insurance coverage the league is now trying to activate.

The stakes are quite high. The complaint points out that the NFL has already exhausted the initial $10 million in available insurance, with all the money presumably paying only for attorney fees and expenses. (Maybe I should have kept practicing law, after all.) The league is now trying to activate multiple layers of excess coverage, with policies covering $10-20 million, $20-30 million, $30 to $40 million, $40 million. to $50 million and $50 to $60 million.

Again, the Sunday Ticket antitrust case is still pending. While we haven’t delved into that specific litigation yet, potential antitrust issues with Sunday Ticket’s entire approach have still lurked in plain sight. The league and, from 1994 to 2022, DirecTV, made the product available for one all-season price. All off-market games, with no option to purchase specific weekends or individual games.

Whether the NFL wins or loses the case, legal fees and expenses will continue to mount. Already, more than $10 million has been committed. How much more will be spent before the case is solved?

Even if the NFL gets the $50 million in excess insurance that the new lawsuit is pursuing, the league could consider paying significantly more, depending on how the antitrust case unfolds. Whatever the final price, the total revenue the NFL has generated from its all-or-nothing Sunday Ticket approach will eclipse it.

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