Ofcom to Investigate Premier League TV Rights Distribution

By iSportconnect | November 18, 2014

UK broadcasting regulatory and competition authority Ofcom has begun an investigation into how Premier League TV rights are sold in the UK after a complaint by Virgin Media.

Virgin has called for more matches to be made available for live broadcast in the country.

According to Virgin, the current deals “for the ‘collective’ selling of live UK television rights by the Premier League for matches played by its member clubs is in breach of competition law”.

The Premier League released a statement however saying that the way it sells its TV rights is “compatible with UK and EU competition law”.

Ofcom said: “Virgin Media argues that the proportion of matches made available for live television broadcast under the current Premier League rights deals – at 41% – is lower than some other leading European leagues, where more matches are available for live television broadcast.”

In their statement, the Premier League said: “We note that Ofcom has launched an inquiry. Ofcom has stated that this is at an early stage and it has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of any infringement.

“The Premier League currently sells its audio-visual rights in a way that is compatible with UK and EU competition law and will continue to do so.”

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s chief executive, said: “The fact remains that fans in the UK pay the highest prices in Europe to watch the least amount of football on TV. Now is the right time to look again at the way live rights are sold to make football even more accessible,” he said.

“We look forward to working constructively with the Premier League, the wider industry and Ofcom to ensure a better deal for football fans.”