1:56pm PT by Ashley Cullins
NFL Sues MediaCruiser Designer for $4M
Last year, NFL Network's plans to take its show on the road to engage fans went up in flames after its MediaCruiser caught fire. Now, NFL Enterprises has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the company that designed it.
The league is suing XDS for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, among other claims, because it still doesn't have the title to the trailer and therefore can't file an insurance claim.
The MediaCruiser was a 2018 Ford tow vehicle with an Airstream 32-foot trailer, which was used as a portable set. The goal was to increase fan interaction and interest in the sport by broadcasting live outside NFL stadiums for Thursday Night Football and the Super Bowl — but the vehicle didn't even make it through the season's first quarter.
"[T]he MediaCruiser's life on the road for NFLE was short-lived," writes attorney Jonathan Pressment in the complaint, filed Wednesday in New York state court. "On or about October 7, 2017 — less than one month after being delivered to NFLE — the MediaCruiser's Trailer burst into flames (the "Fire") while being driven by an agent of XDS on Highway 17 in Leland, North Carolina."
NFL Enterprises says it can't file an insurance claim for the fire damage because XDS still hasn't provided the documents that show NFLE owns the trailer, according to the complaint. "Thus, despite paying XDS in full for the MediaCruiser, NFLE presently neither has use of the MediaCruiser, nor the ability to proceed with a claim for coverage for the damage caused by the Fire," writes Pressment in the complaint, which is posted below. The league also says XDS is claiming to own the trailer in violation of their written agreement.
XDS creative director Rohit Kapoor tells a different story. He says his company hasn't heard from the NFL since the week of the fire; only its insurance agents have been in contact.
"Contractually, we were the ones obligated to fix the trailer and our insurance was obligated to pay for it," Kapoor tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The trailer can be fixed. The NFL commandeered it and prevented us from fixing it, which is the reason it wasn’t fixed. This lawsuit is an intimidation tactic, and they haven’t yet learned we aren’t intimidated by them."
NFLE is seeking more than $4 million in actual damages plus punitive damages, or, alternatively, an order directing XDS to immediately turn over the trailer's title. Kapoor says, contrary to what's stated in the complaint, the league actually hasn't paid its obligations for the trailer in full, and XDS would gladly turn over the title once that happens.
Oct. 17, 3:50 p.m. Updated with comments from XDS.