Canal Plus faces soccer anti-trust charges
December 10, 2012
From David Del Valle in Madrid
The Spanish Competition Commission (CNC) has started legal proceedings against Canal Plus, Telefonica and Mediapro, shareholder in La Sexta, over a possible breach of free competition as a result of their agreement to jointly market pay TV football rights.
The CNC accuses Canal Plus of “abuse of dominant position” in the re-sale of TV rights to the Spanish Football League and the King’s Cup by setting “unequal conditions” when exploiting the TV rights through Canal Plus Liga.
The CNC is also probing restricted practices in the deal between Canal Plus and Telefonica to exploit the TV channels Canal Plus Liga and Canal Plus Liga de Campeones with conditions that “could unjustifiably exclude third party pay TV operators.”
Finally, the CNC believes that the deal between Canal Plus and Mediapro to jointly exploit pay TV football rights for 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 seasons may also break competition rules in the market.
The CNC started investigating following complaints from several cable operators and telcos – among them France Telecom Spain, Euskaltel, Telecable, R, Cableuropa – on the grounds that the three companies, Canal Plus, Telefonica and Mediapro, were restricting their access to those pay-TV football rights. The CNC has 18 months to take a final decision.