CMA suspects anti-competitive behaviour regarding production and broadcasting of sports content
First published by Author on June 07, 2023 in the following categories: Consumer Law Digital Industry Investigations Sports and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | investigations | sports
Since July 2022, the CMA has been looking into suspected anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK for both freelance and employed labour.
The early CMA suspicions involve potential suspected breaches of competition law which the UK’s competition regulator has been looking into over the last 12 months or so. The CMA has yet to make any final determinations, but it appears to have made considerable headway in relation to the ongoing investigation.
As things stand, further information is still being gathered by the watchdog to determine whether any infringements have taken place.
CMA investigation into the production and broadcasting of sports content
The UK’s competition watchdog – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – has been looking into suspected anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the production and broadcasting of sports content since July 2022.
The CMA’s early suspicions involve looking into whether any competition law has been breached in respect of freelance services and employed staff involved in the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK.
The CMA has confirmed that its investigation involves the purchase of services from freelance providers as well as the employment of staff. The CMA has also said that it believes that there are potential grounds to suspect that there have been one or more breaches of competition law. However, at this stage, there has yet to be a final determination as to whether any infringements have taken place.
You can read more about this matter on the CMA’s website here.
Next steps in the CMA’s investigation
As is often the case, the CMA has published a timetable in respect of its initial investigations looking into the production and broadcasting of sports content, and whether there has been any breach of competition law. The initial investigation is an information-gathering phase that has been ongoing since July 2022 and was originally set to go on to January 2023. However, the investigation period was extended, and the CMA then moved on to its reviews and analysis of the information that had been gathered.
A key update occurred in April 2023 when the CMA published a formal notice of investigation issued to the British Broadcasting Corporation and Sunset and Vine Productions Limited. The CMA expects that its current period of investigation may extend toward the end of this year.
Companies involved in the investigation
According to the CMA, the companies that are involved in the investigation that they are undertaking in relation to any suspected anti-competitive behaviour are as follows:
- the British Broadcasting Corporation
- BT Group PLC
- IMG Media Limited (including Premier League Productions)
- ITV PLC
- Sky UK Limited
- Sunset & Vine Productions Limited
As always, this is a matter that we will keep an eye on in respect of any developments and updates, particularly because the price for consumers for sports content has certainly seen a number of increases in recent years. As we also continue to undergo the cost-of-living crisis, it is important that consumers are not being impacted by any unjust pricing, if that is something that has happened as a result of the matter that the CMA is looking into.