More competition on football media rights – more viewing choice for fans

A Commission decision ending British Sky Broadcasting’s exclusive rights to the English FA Premier League live matches aims to increase innovation through more competition in providing coverage to football fans.

The Commission has adopted a decision according to which the English Premier League football clubs can sell their media rights together. The decision, adopted on 22 March 2006, concerns TV, mobile phone and internet and stipulates that the live TV rights will be sold in six packages, no single buyer being able to buy more than five. An independent trustee will ensure that the rights are sold in an open and competitive bidding process. 

The decision renders commitments from the FA Premier League concerning the sale of media rights legally binding until 30 June 2013. The deal is set to increase the availability of media rights and to improve the prospects of competition in providing services to consumers. 

The FA Premier League (FAPL) has welcomed the Commission’s final decision. “This decision creates legal certainty for the FAPL and our clubs as to how we sell our rights from the 2007/8 season onwards. It is also a good outcome for supporters, whether in the stadium or watching our broadcasts,” said FAPL Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore.

“The deal between the Premier League and the Commission strikes the right balance. The agreement reached today will provide more viewing choice for football fans regardless of whether they have satellite,” commented the MEP Chris Heaton-Harris (EPP/ED). 

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