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Collective Selling of Broadcasting Rights: Regulation by the European Commission and National Competition Authorities

Collective Selling of Broadcasting Rights: Regulation by the European Commission and National Competition Authorities

A seminar at the Room 101,
Foster Court,
University College London
(Off Torrington Place WC1, opposite Waterstones Bookstore – click here for map)

6 – 8pm, Wednesday 6th October 2004

Given by:

Professor Christine Oughton

Synopsis

This paper reviews the evidence and outcomes of recent competition authority cases on the collective selling of broadcasting rights by football leagues. In particular we focus on the recent EC case against the Premier League. Our analysis shows that the collective selling of broadcasting rights by the Premier League (PL) does not represent a restriction of competition on the market in the normal sense and therefore does not breach Article 81. Moreover, we find that collective selling agreements improve the production and distribution of football matches and benefits consumers (football supporters). However, we believe that these benefits would be enhanced by greater solidarity (which has been eroded in recent years) and better corporate governance of football clubs.

Finally, we argue that there is a lack of competition in the broadcasting market due to BSkyB’s dominant position and its possible abuse of that position. However, we believe that this is best dealt with under Article 82 and that the Commission should investigate BSkyB’s activities directly using Article 82 rather than seek to regulate abuse of a dominant position in broadcasting via application of Article 81 to the football industry. The use of Article 81 to remedy BSkyB’s dominance runs the risk of undermining solidarity in the football industry and reducing the output of that industry with no guarantee that BSkyB’s dominant position and possible abuse of that position would be curtailed or eliminated.

The seminar is free. For further details contact Sean Hamil at the Football Governance Research Centre on 020 7631 6763 or email s.hamil@bbk.ac.uk

Copies of the handout notes will be available on request.

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