Judge Denies TRO Attempting To Stop DIRECTV's NFL Advertising Campaign

12 August 2011 Second City Bench Memo Publication

While the National Football League’s (“NFL”) players and owners may have resolved their well-publicized labor dispute, two media giants are in the midst of their own NFL-related quarrel in federal court. Cable television provider Comcast Cable Communications, LLC (“Comcast”) this week lost its bid for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against rival television provider DIRECTV, Inc. (“DIRECTV”) before Judge Ruben Castillo in the Northern District of Illinois, No. 11-cv-05284.

In its complaint, Comcast alleges that DIRECTV is misleading consumers in its new advertising campaign touting its NFL Sunday Ticket football programming package as a “free” service to new subscribers. Comcast alleges that the service is anything but free because it requires a two-year contract and automatic renewal of the service in the second year at full price. The court reportedly denied the TRO because Comcast did not make the requisite showing that DIRECTV’s actions resulted in irreparable harm to Comcast. DIRECTV may have scored first in defeating the TRO, but the contest is far from over as the court set an expedited discovery schedule leading up to the preliminary injunction hearing on August 24, 2011.

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