Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for April 21st, 2010

Competition Law and Sport (III)-Sale of Football TV Rights: One size fits all?

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The Spanish NCA adopted last week its long-awaited decision with regards to the sale of television rights for the national football championship. The essence of its decision is simple: agreements concluded between football clubs and television operators for a period exceeding three years are anticompetitive. In this regard, the Spanish NCA simply follows the rule of thumb, later to become a dogma, introduced by the European Commission in the UEFA Champions League case.
Why should a three-year ceiling for exclusivity agreements be always justified? it would seem that the new entrants challenging the position of incumbents may need a longer exclusivity period. In this sense, the three-year rule may paradoxically contribute to dominant positions of incumbent pay-TV operators becoming entrenched. A case-by-case analysis of the context surrounding the agreement would seem more appropriate to avoid false positives.

The rise of the three-year rule to dogma status may be explained by the “complex economic assessments” involved in establishing rigorously the anticompetitive effects of agreements on a case-by-case basis…

PS. Thanks go to Pablo Ibañez for very valuable discussions on this issue.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

21 April 2010 at 12:24 am