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NFL's opening statement in Sunday Ticket included some unusual arguments

It's hard to find much media coverage of the landmark NFL Sunday Ticket trial. Obviously, NFL.com will never mention it. As a potential deal between Disney and the league to take control of NFL Media continues to loom, ESPN.com has been quiet about it, too.

We've been regularly searching for anything about the case. This morning, we stumbled over an item in The Hollywood Reporter that contains some of the content from the league’s opening statement.

It was delivered by Beth Wilkinson, who initially handled the investigation regarding the Commanders and former owner Daniel Snyder — and who was prepared to recommend in writing that Snyder should be forced to sell the team. (The league never asked for her written recommendations.)

The plaintiffs in the Sunday Ticket case claim in part that the NFL insisted on an elevated price for Sunday Ticket in order to protect the broadcast packages purchased by CBS and Fox. Basically, the greater the cost of Sunday Ticket, the less likely fans would be to watch it instead of the games made available on their local CBS and/or Fox affiliates.

While the context, based on the article, isn't entirely clear, Wilkinson apparently tried to justify the price for Sunday Ticket by pointing to the costs incurred by CBS and Fox to broadcast games.

"The biggest cost is for famous announcers like Tony Romo,” Wilkinson said. “Well guess what? Those people charge a lot of money. Who pays for it? Fox and CBS."

But no one forces CBS and Fox to pay that much to game analysts. It's still unclear what CBS blew the curve for Romo, and it's less clear why Fox offered Tom Brady $375 million on a 10-year deal. However, it's difficult if not impossible to see any connection whatsoever between those decisions by CBS and Fox and the NFL's alleged effort to keep Sunday Ticket so expensive that plenty of fans will watch CBS and Fox instead.

Wilkinson also offered a clunky justification for the NFL's programming decisions: “We’re in L.A. Everyone knows TV programs are exclusive. Back in the day, we only saw Seinfeld on NBC. They don’t have to give their content to other networks. You’re allowed to sell your product how you want.”

The point she was trying to make isn't obvious. (And that's putting it kindly.) Also, NBC was (and is) one business. The NFL was (and is) 32 different businesses. The NFL can't come together and fix prices.

This isn't about NBC exclusively televising Seinfeld or any other show. It's about the NFL exclusively making out-of-market games available only to fans who were willing to buy the entire, full-season package for a price that was (allegedly) marked up to ensure that plenty of fans would opt to just watch whatever was on CBS or Fox locally.

It's a mass effort by the league, operating as one business, to find a sweet spot that maximizes revenue from broadcast networks and the Sunday Ticket provider. Even if that means dictating to the Sunday Ticket provider the price it must charge for the product it has purchased from the NFL.

And even if that means forcing consumers to spend a lot more money for out-of-market games — as well as preventing them from choosing something less than the full-season, whole-league package.