SBD/13/Sports Media

PREMIER LEAGUE TAKES ISSUE WITH BROADCASTS RIGHTS

          In England, the Office of Fair Trading Dir General John
     Bridgeman is "insisting" that Premier League soccer teams
     negotiate TV deals individually rather than collectively as
     a league, according to John Mason of the FINANCIAL TIMES. 
     The Premiere League, along with the BBC and Sky TV, are
     opposing any changes to the regulations and has taken the
     issue before the Restrictive Practices Court.  The league,
     whose teams receive US$1.2B from the BBC and Sky for TV
     rights, argue that the rule would "damage the commercial
     prospects of all but the top football clubs" and would put
     broadcasting companies in "an unacceptably powerful
     position."  The OFT believes the rule would "give more
     broadcasters" the right to "buy soccer rights and increase
     consumer choice" with more soccer on TV.  The hearing is
     expected to last about three months (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/13) 
      
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