Chillin'Competition

Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

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

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  1. […] of competition law in this sector, some of which have also been discussed here in the past (e.g. football tv rights, salary caps, state aids in sports, or the SCOTUS decision in American […]

  2. […] “competition law and sport” series (see posts I, II, III, IV, and V) was born out of our belief that the application of competition law to the world of […]


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