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PREMIER LEAGUE TAKES ISSUE WITH BROADCASTS RIGHTS
Published January 13, 1999
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)