Advanced Television

Sport rights holder legal action on Sky price control?

March 29, 2010

The sport rights holders, who have benefitted greatly from Sky's determination to dominate pay TV sport, are considering legal action to stop Ofcom regulating the price at which Sky wholesales its channels – a move that will likely lead to lower bids for rights.

Sports governing bodies argue that the move will “irreparably damage” investment in grass-roots level sport. The buyers of the channels; BT, Virgin Media and Top Up TV, say the cuts will lead to lower prices for consumers.

The sport bodies are considering lodging their own objections with the Competition Appeals Tribunal, and potentially to the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Justice, arguing that Ofcom has ignored the impact on them. They say the ruling will damage competition and severely hit the amount broadcasters are willing to pay for rights.

Six of the largest governing bodies – the Rugby Football Union, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the Football Association, the Premier League and the Rugby Football League – claim Ofcom has not taken into account the impact of its decision on sport and has ignored their views.

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