Sky says the “crown jewels” list of sporting events reserved for free-to-air television amounts to a “tax on sport” that subsidises terrestrial broadcasters. In its submission to the government’s review of the A list of sporting events that must shown on free to air TV, the pay-TV broadcaster also argues that the policy reduces competition for media rights. Sky believes sports governing bodies should be allowed to make their own decisions to maximise the value of their TV rights, free of political interference.
“Listing a sporting event against the wishes of the sports body responsible for it removes that freedom of choice and places a key decision in the running of the sport into the hands of government,” BSkyB said in its submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
“Listing an event against the wishes of a sports body means that it becomes a forced seller of its rights and denies it the ability to get a fair deal from its chosen broadcast partners. This amounts to a tax on sport to subsidise terrestrial broadcasters, at a time when sports are in need of greater levels of funding in order to invest in facilities and in their grassroots, and face pressure from the Government to increase levels of participation.”