English Premiership

UK wants more live EPL on TV

2014-11-18 16:08
EPL TV crew (Getty Images)

London - Regulator Ofcom on Tuesday have launched a competition probe into how English football's Premier League sells rights to broadcast live matches featuring teams including Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

It follows a complaint from Virgin Media submitted to Ofcom in September, the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said in a statement.

"Virgin Media argues that the proportion of matches made available for live television broadcast (in the United Kingdom) under the current Premier League rights deals -- at 41 percent -- is lower than some other leading European leagues, where more matches are available for live television broadcast," Ofcom said.

"The complaint alleges that this contributes to higher prices for consumers of pay TV packages that include premium sport channels and for the pay TV retailers of premium sports channels," Ofcom added.

The regulator said it will now consider whether there has been a breach of UK and/or European Union (EU) competition law.

Rights to screen live Premier League fixtures in the UK are shared currently between pay TV broadcasters BSkyB and BT, with the bulk shown by BSkyB. Virgin Media meanwhile has an agreement to show these matches on its own cable TV platform by paying a fee to BSkyB and BT.

Customers then pay a monthly subscription to view the games on either BSkyB, BT and/or Virgin Media.

Separate deals exist for broadcast rights of the globally popular Premier League in other countries.

The previous auction in 2012 saw BSkyB and BT pay a combined £3 billion to show matches over three seasons with the cost soaring as telecoms group BT entered the TV market for the first time.

The next auction is due early in 2015 and analysts are predicting another surge in the contract that will boost the coffers of England's elite clubs and likely see another massive hike in wages earned by the top players.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who this week made his 100th appearance for England, is paid a reported £300 000 a week by his club.

"Ofcom's announcement today is welcome news," said Virgin Media's chief executive Tom Mockridge.

"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."

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

Read more on:    english premiership  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.