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MLB, Fans Settle TV Antitrust Class Action

This is a settlement for the Antitrust lawsuit.

Philadelphia, PA: A proposed settlement agreement has been reached between major league baseball (MLB) fans and broadcasters, staving off an antitrust class action over how out-of-market game broadcasts are sold.

Under the agreement, MLB will offer an unbundled MLB.TV Internet package for the next five years, allowing for the purchase of single-team packages for $84.99 next season. It represents a 23% reduction from the cheapest version of MLB.TV previously available and a 35% reduction from the most commonly purchased version. The agreement also requires the MLB.TV league-wide package cost to fall to $109.99.

In addition to the single-team package offering and lower prices, the agreement provides new options to consumers. It requires MLB to implement by the All-Star Break, a "Follow Your Team" variant of MLB.TV, which, for the first time in any major professional sports league, will allow consumers to watch a chosen away team's telecast even when that club is playing an "in-market" team. This new product, which will cost only $10 more than the MLB.TV package, will enable authenticated subscribers, individuals who are pay television subscribers of the Regional Sports Network (RSN) that carries the in-market club, to watch what, up until now, would have been "blacked out" telecasts.

MLB has further agreed that it will endeavor to provide live local team broadcasts over the Internet (so called "In-Market Streaming") for authenticated subscribers to the 25 RSNs carrying MLB games owned by DIRECTV, Comcast and 21st Century Fox by the start of the 2017 season. If In-Market Streaming is not in place for each and every one of these clubs by the 2017 season, MLB will be prohibited from increasing any of its MLB.TV package prices.

The case is Garber, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., 12-cv-3704 (SAS), in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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Published on Jan-19-16


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