Tackle This: NFL TV Fans Who Only Want Their Team Games, Home Or Away

Imagine if Los Angeles-based NFL fans of the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs would like to see only that team’s games in a season on TV or streaming platforms. 

Or, being more selective, maybe they want to be able to choose just certain Chiefs games in a season. Can that be done? No, says a current consumer lawsuit against the league.
What the NFL offers its rabid supporters is an “out of market” package of games -- multiple simultaneous airings of different games -- called “Sunday Ticket.”  This can cost several hundred dollars a season -- like $300 or $400 a year.
This consumer lawsuit, eight years in the making, focuses on “price fixing” that forces fans to buy more than what they want. 
The NFL says its programming packages are a deal for consumers and that broadcast over-the-air TV networks, CBS and Fox, offer games for free -- the Chiefs home games for example, aired in Kansas City.
But what if the Los Angeles fans -- and other non-Kansas City resident fans -- of the Chiefs only want access to just Chiefs games -- home and away? The NFL doesn’t allow consumers to buy on a single game basis. The thinking is, if it did, that price would be much lower.
The lawsuit also complains about the idea around “free” games on broadcast networks -- that consumers still have to shell out for pay TV cable/satellite/broadband service that can cost $1,000 or more a year.
The consumer lawsuit says this was the case with “Sunday Ticket” previous distribution partner, satellite TV provider, DirecTV. It also complains DirecTV deferred to the NFL when it came to setting a price, saying that is “price fixing.”
Maybe we should think about the broader supply-and-demand equation around all of this -- that the purchase model for sports, TV shows, and all content might need to be more granular. Yes, you can rent movies and TV show episodes on platforms like Apple TV and Amazon. 
But you can’t do it for many sports. Do consumers need more choice beyond the current TV, streaming packages? And who might be really willing to play ball?



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