(Bloomberg) -- National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell rejected claims that the league colluded with DirecTV to set the price of the Sunday Ticket broadcast package, telling a jury that the subscription fee was solely determined by the satellite television provider.

In testimony Monday at a federal antitrust trial in Los Angeles, Goodell held firm that Sunday Ticket has always been “innovative” and “competitive” under questioning from a lawyer for consumers.

Choosing DirecTV as a partner 30 years ago “was an opportunity for us to create a new platform for our fans,” he said.

But Goodell acknowledged that he didn’t read or understand the league’s agreement with DirecTV to launch the package on a subscription basis before he signed the contracts. He said he trusted his advisers.

“It’s a premium product; it should be priced accordingly,” he testified when he was asked if Sunday Ticket was supposed to limit subscriber count.

Goodell, 65, told the jury he’s been at the National Football League for 42 years — starting as an administrative intern in the league office in New York in 1982.

The stakes were high for Goodell’s testimony. The fans who sued the NFL want to revise its broadcast policies to allow for greater access to out-of-market games at lower prices. The NFL could have to pay as much as $21 billion if it loses the trial because damages can be tripled under federal antitrust law. 

While local CBS and Fox affiliates broadcast games for teams in their regions, viewing games outside those areas often requires a paid subscription to Sunday Ticket. 

The NFL is unique compared to other North American professional sports leagues in that its premium product for out-of-market games is only available on one distribution platform. For years, that platform was DirecTV, but YouTube TV became the exclusive provider in 2023.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers sought to poke holes in Goodell’s argument about innovation, pointing out that DirecTV doesn’t push creative boundaries the way companies like Amazon.com Inc. or Alphabet Inc.’s Google do.

“I don’t recall anything” was Goodell’s response to whether DirecTV made any significant innovations from late 2018 to early 2022.

The plaintiffs argue that the league and DirecTV artificially inflated the price of Sunday Ticket and kept it on a platform with limited reach as means of keeping the subscriber base low, in order to preserve the value of the exclusivity clauses in their contracts with CBS and Fox.

Goodell refused to concede that the price of Sunday Ticket was too high. He was asked repeatedly if he thinks subscriptions are sold at a fair price.

“That’s consumer choice,” he testified.

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