Maya Rustom

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Americans love football, but every year thousands of fans are forced to pay exorbitant annual fees if they chose to have access to out-of-market games. In other words, if fans don’t live in the territory of their favorite team, they can either pay an excessive annual fee to watch their team play or miss out on the majority of games every season. This arrangement is a result of DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket Package, which is an exclusive distributorship agreement with the NFL that prevents fans from watching live out-of-market games unless they pay the annual subscription fee. This Comment addresses and agrees with the Ninth Circuit’s holding that DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket Package and the NFL’s agreement with its teams to pool their television rights violates §§ I and II of the Sherman Act, but rebuts the court’s decision in granting the plaintiffs antitrust standing. Specifically, this Comment will explore the history of antitrust law and how it applies to the NFL, present an analysis on how the NFL injured competition and monopolized the market of football, and address how the Ninth Circuit defied Supreme Court precedent in granting antitrust standing. Ultimately, this Comment addresses the antitrust implications of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling for other professional sports leagues, consumers, and future plaintiffs of antitrust litigation, and offers solutions and suggestions for the future of television and sports.