15 April 2010
The Premier League will take legal action to overturn Ofcom’s decision to force BSkyB to offer its sports channels to rivals at cheaper prices.
A statement on the League’s website today, the League’s chief executive Richard Scudamore says: “Having taken time to study the 655 page Ofcom decision in respect to its Pay-TV intervention we have concluded that we have no option other than to mount a challenge to their proposed action. We do not undertake this process lightly; however the consequences for UK sport and UK sports fans are too serious and fundamental for us to ignore.
“By forcing Sky to sell its sports channels to its competitors at a discount, Ofcom will reduce the incentives of all broadcasters, Sky included, to invest in the acquisition of sports rights. This can only have a negative impact on the ability of sport to attract a fair return on its content in an open market, which is necessary to ensure appropriate investment in maintaining the highest quality of that content.
“The effect will be to subsidise companies that have shown little appetite for investing in content and fundamentally damage the investment models that have helped sport become a successful part of the UK economy and made sport so attractive to UK consumers.
“We want to see competition for our content; it attracts value to invest in what fans want – playing talent and facilities – anything that diminishes that investment will be bad for the game and bad for sports fans as a whole.
“This is why it is critical for the Premier League to defend its ability to provide the quality football that has underpinned the successful development of the English game. We, and our clubs, operate in a highly competitive market and we intend to resist strenuously this unjustified attempt to reward risk-averse companies and undermine not only English football but UK sport as a whole.”