Comcast has sued DirecTV, accusing it of misleading consumers by promising “free” broadcasts of National Football League games. In a complaint filed 8/3 in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Comcast claimed that DirecTV is poaching customers with false promises about its NFL Sunday Ticket package. The case is Comcast Cable Communications LLC v DirecTV Inc., No. 11-05284.
According to Comcast, DirecTV has been recruiting customers by appearing to offer them a chance to watch every Sunday NFL game outside their local markets for free. However, Comcast says the campaign (online, TV and radio), doesn’t disclose that the offer requires customers to sign up for two-year contracts with big fees for early termination.
“The claim of ‘free’ is an outright lie,” Comcast said. “This is a false advertising case against a serial false advertiser.”
Comcast added that DirecTV has been disparaging its cable services in a national TV commercial. For example, in Philadelphia, all games by the local Eagles team are available on Comcast, but the ads make it seem that only subscribers of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package can view them, Comcast said in the complaint.
Comcast is seeking an injunction to stop the ads, recover DirecTV’s alleged improper profits and is asking for punitive damages.
DirecTV denied the allegations and plans to defend itself.
See the ad here:
RBR-TVBR observation: No one expects to get the service for free. As you can see, the ad states there is no extra charge for the Sunday Ticket package, as in the past. Consumers will find out they will have to sign a two-year contract when they inquire (most know this is how satellite service is offered anyway). We’re not sure how this is a lie. Now, implying the only place to see a local game is via the Sunday Ticket package may be another story.