Thursday, 29 January 2015

BBC News: Premier League TV sale should be halted, says Virgin Media.

Story thanks to BBC News.
Virgin Media has asked watchdog Ofcom to suspend the auction of Premier League football TV rights until a probe into the process is completed.

The broadcasting regulator launched an investigation in November, following a complaint by the firm.

Virgin claimed the way matches are currently sold breached competition law, and that too few matches are made available for broadcast.

The Premier League called Virgin Media's plea "self-serving".

Currently, BSkyB and BT share the rights to televise Premier League football games.

The price for the latest rights deal - covering 2013-16 - rose by 70% to £3bn when it was announced in 2012.

The Premier League is set to close the bidding process for matches from 2016 onwards in the next few weeks.

'Plenty of time' The Premier League is confident that Ofcom will not agree to Virgin Media's request, the BBC understands.

In a statement Virgin had said: "The Premier League has pushed ahead with its early sale of TV rights despite Ofcom's investigation.

"With 18 months until those deals begin, there is plenty of time for Ofcom to pause the auction process while it completes its inquiries.

"Failure to do so will leave fans, who already pay the most to see the least amount of football in Europe, facing yet another big rise in the cost of watching live football on TV."

© 2015 BBC.