The National Commission for Competition Questions the Current Market Model For Acquisition And Exploitation of Audiovisual Rights For Football in Spain

6 August 2008

On June 5, 2008, the regulatory body of the competition drafted a report regarding the state of the acquisition and exploitation market of audiovisual rights, in which it the current model in force in Spain is questioned.

The Commission estimates that operators interested in acquiring the rights have a certain competitive disadvantage compared with the competitors with a larger portfolio concerning the rights when it comes to bidding for the audiovisual rights of a specific football club.

Regarding the current model in force in Spain, the report picks up that currently the ownership of the rights corresponds to the football club organising the match. According to the Commission they derive a “potential close of the market”, caused by the need to rely on the agreement of the two clubs implicated for the retransmission of a match. The commission understands that the need for this double consent means that the number of matches that an acquirer of rights can exploit increases proportionally as it accumulates rights from different teams.

This report also feels that the acquisition of football audiovisual rights for Spanish competitions is limited by a number of elements, such as the existence of long contracts, acquisition rights that favour their expiration or temporary scaling whilst in force. In this way, the Commission proposes the temporary limitation of the sale and resale contracts of football audiovisual rights.

As a result of all this, in the judgement of the Commission, interested agents find it difficult to access the rights, and those who have a wider portfolio of clients can have access to a progressive competitive advantage.

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