Saturday September 30, 2023

Sports Broadcasters Investigated for ‘Cartel-Like Behavior’

  • BT Group, IMG Media, Sky UK Limited, and ITV are all under investigation.
  • At issue is pay offered to highly skilled staff members, including camera operators.
Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football

From Taylor Swift to the Prime Effect, there's a lot going on in the world of football.
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September 29, 2023 | Podcast
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The Competition and Markets Authority — a U.K. antitrust watchdog — is investigating a group of Britain’s top sports broadcasters regarding the purchase of freelance services. 

The antitrust regulator believes the broadcasters engaged in potential “cartel-like behavior.” 

  • BT Group, IMG Media, Sky UK Limited, and ITV are all under investigation.
  • At issue is pay offered to highly skilled staff members, including camera operators.
  • The probe will date back to 2015, according to the Financial Times.
  • All those under investigation have pledged to cooperate with the probe. 

The CMA, which believes it has “reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law,” hasn’t issued a probe into sports media since the early 2000s. 

Then, the CMA’s predecessor, the Office of Fair Trading, investigated a media rights pact that included British Sky Broadcasting, Channel 4, and the Racecourse Association.

The investigation resulted in no repercussions for those involved. 

Staying Busy 

In addition to its probe of British broadcasters, the CMA has been busy investigating other deals in sports and gaming. Last month, the regulator initiated an investigation into fashion retailers JD Sports, Elite Sports, and Rangers FC regarding fixed prices on Rangers apparel. 

The CMA previously fined JD Sports, along with Footasylum, $5.6 million in February for competition breach following an attempted merger in 2021.

The watchdog is also investigating Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.

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Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football


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