NFL sues insurance companies over Sunday Ticket antitrust litigation

As the NFL continues to battle insurance companies that (spoiler alert) don’t want to pay alimony in regards to lawsuits and concussion settlements, Big Shield has a new battle with Big Insurance over the availability of coverage for the Sunday Ticket antitrust action filed against the NFL in 2015.

Sports attorney Daniel Wallach revealed the lawsuit, which was filed last November, in a tweet. Wallach then forwarded to the PFT the complaint and a more recent filing – a document confirming that the insurer has until March 13 to respond to the lawsuit.

Generalities trace back to industry origins based on receiving money and, in the right circumstances, paying money out. When a company’s only product is money, it doesn’t want to give away money when it shouldn’t. Often refuses to give money when they should.

In this particular case, the NFL claimed that the insurance company liable for “excess” coverage (in English, the NFL burned its primary insurance policy and then switched to a backup) had refused to pay money that would have covered attorneys’ fees and other costs in defending against pending antitrust cases. The NFL alleges that excess coverage providers initially appeared to acknowledge responsibility for providing coverage before changing their tune in 2021.

Insurance company excess allegedly tried to tie a 2015 antitrust case to a similar 1997 lawsuit, arguing that the two issues amounted to a single “claim” that preceded the insurance coverage the league is now trying to activate.

The stakes are quite high. The complaint indicated that the NFL had spent an initial $10 million in available insurance, with all of the money possibly just paying attorneys’ fees and expenses. (Maybe I should still practice law.) The league is now trying to enable multiple layers of overprotection, with policies that cover $10 million to $20 million, $20 million to $30 million, $30 million to $40 million, $40 million to $50 million, and $50 million. up to $60 million.

Once again, the Sunday Ticket antitrust case is still pending. While we haven’t delved into that particular litigation, the potential antitrust issues with the entire approach to the Sunday Ticket have always been hidden in plain sight. The League and, from 1994 to 2022, DirecTV, have provided the product at one global price for the entire season. All games are out of market, without the ability to purchase specific weekends or individual games.

Regardless of whether the NFL wins or loses this case, legal costs and expenses will continue to rise. Already, more than $10 million has been spent. How much more will be spent before the case is solved?

Even if the NFL gets the $50 million in excess insurance demanded by the new lawsuit, the league could consider paying out even more, based on how the antitrust case goes. Regardless of the final price, the total revenue the NFL generates from an all-or-nothing approach to the Sunday Ticket will dwarf that.

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