Virgin on the Ridiculous: The £5bn Football Broadcasting Deal
This week Sky and BT paid over £5bn to the Premier League for its live domestic broadcasting rights in a three year deal. Such was the competition that the amount paid was a reported 70% uplift on the previous astronomical deal.
Prior to the announcement, Virgin Media who purchases Sky Sports and BT Sports on a wholesale basis from its rivals to sell on to its own retail customers had complained to Ofcom that the collective selling of live Premier League rights breached competition law. Such claims related to the number of Premier League matches made available being lower than in other European leagues, where more live matches are sold. Virgin argue that the exclusive provisions in the Premier League auction process significantly raise the price broadcasters have to pay and that as a result British subscribers pay too much money to access premium content as costs are passed on by way of higher prices. Interestingly, just before the auction winners were announced, Virgin asked Ofcom to temporarily suspend the award, pending the outcome of Ofcom’s investigation. Virgin failed to freeze the auction but the investigation continues. Structural changes in the way the rights are sold and how the auction is carried out could be a possibility, should Ofcom rule that the Premier League is breaching the competition rules.
With Virgin competing on various fronts with BT and Sky for broadband, mobile, Pay-Tv and phone line rental, there is a wider narrative developing around broadcasters becoming triple play and quad play providers. Indeed, BT incentivises its customers to take its broadband offering through marketing its BT Sport channels for free. Sky conversely offers free broadband if consumers sign up to its premium TV channels. With Sky entering the mobile market next year and BT’s purchase of EE, live premium sports rights are seen as one of the core drivers for new bundled quad-play consumer offerings. Virgin already offers ‘quad’ bundles and its Pay-Tv complaint to Ofcom may be the start of round of interlinked competition and regulatory skirmishes involving Pay-Tv, broadband and mobile. Watch this space.
Third Party Investment Update: Players Can Own their Transfer Rights
By Daniel Geey and Alex Harvey Introduction It was a pleasure to talk alongside Nick De Marco recently at the RFEF FIFA Legal Congress in Madrid. We discussed the current state of play regarding Third Party Investment (TPI), particularly bearing in mind the recent TPI amendment to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer […]
Football Broadcasting Deals Across the Top 5 European Leagues
By Daniel Geey and Alex Harvey The excellent Swiss Ramble wrote a fascinating twitter thread comparing broadcasting revenues in the 2018/19 season across the top leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. I would highly recommend reading the thread in detail. As with a previous thread that the Swiss Ramble wrote on EPL broadcasting […]
How did Dybala’s image rights affect his proposed transfer to Tottenham?
This piece was first published by the excellent Goal.com here Getting a deal over the line can be complicated at the best of times but complications over marketing opportunities can make things even worse It has been reported over the last few days that Paulo Dybala’s transfer to Tottenham hit choppy waters and ultimately collapsed […]
An Insider's Guide to Football Contracts, Multi-Million Pound Transfers and Premier League Big Business Insightful, enlightening and thought-provoking, leading Premier League lawyer Daniel Geey lifts the lid on the inner workings of modern football.
Whether it is a manager being sacked, the signing of a new star player, television rights negotiations, player misconduct or multi-million-pound club takeovers, lawyers remain at the heart of all football business dealings. Written by leading Premier League lawyer Daniel Geey, who has dealt with all these incidents first hand, this highly accessible book explores the issues – from pitch to boardroom – that shape the modern game and how these impact leagues, clubs, players and fans.Buy Book