Final Sunday Ticket verdict is $4.707 billion (times three, if/when judgment is entered)

For whatever reason (and perhaps the inexplicable failure of major media outlets to dispatch reporters to cover the case on a daily basis is one of them), the information as to the amount of the jury’s verdict in the Sunday Ticket case has been all over the place.

It shouldn’t be. The jury put a number on a form. That’s the number that, if the presiding judge doesn’t throw the case out (and he might), becomes the final judgment. Which then will be tripled, under the antitrust laws.

In the midst of some initial confusion regarding the amount of the verdict, the NFL told PFT that the number was $4.696 billion. That number has again changed.

Via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press, here’s the actual number from the official verdict form: $4,707,259,944.64. (The bizarre specificity is fitting, given the bizarre specificity of the fines the NFL routinely imposes on players for in-game infractions.)

The number comes from an award of $4,610,331,671.74 to the 2.4-million member residential class and $96,928,272.90 to roughly 48,000 commercial establishments.

Upon the entry of the verdict as a judgment (which will happen unless Judge Philip Gutierrez throws the case out entirely), the total liability will become $14,121,779,833.92. That translates to $441,305,619.81 per team.

Those numbers would be enhanced by pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and an award of attorneys’ fees for the nine-year legal journey, which could last another three or four years as the NFL tries to do whatever it can to wipe out the amount entirely.

It’s the biggest loss in civil court that the NFL has ever suffered, by far. And it obscures, frankly, the broader reality that (even if the behavior didn’t violate the antitrust laws) the NFL harmed consumers by overpricing the Sunday Ticket package.

In order to placate CBS and Fox, the NFL forced those who really wanted to watch out-of-market games to pay more than they should have paid — and froze out those who wanted to watch out-of-market games but couldn’t or wouldn’t pay a jacked-up rate for a package that has never included a single-team option.

The league apparently has been doing it this way since 1994. Although the current case covers only the 12 seasons from 2011 through 2022, it’s been happening for 30 years. And if the NFL ultimately wins the case, it could happen for 30 more.

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