SBD/February 8, 2011/Media

Sky Sports Warned By U.K. Media Regulator For EA Sports Logos

Sky Sports "has been rapped" by U.K. media regulator Ofcom "following complaints after 'blatant' and 'irrelevant' logos for technology partner EA Sports appeared on Sky Sports 2 match facts graphics," according to Mark Banham of MEDIA WEEK. The breach occurred in September during live coverage of an EPL match between Everton and Manchester United. During "both the game and the pre- and post-match comment, graphic on-screen displays of statistics and match facts, which appeared a total of 14 times, were accompanied by a logo for the video games manufacturer, attracting a complaint from a viewer." Sky Sports confirmed that the branding was "not linked to any programme sponsorship arrangements it had entered into with EA." The broadcaster "explained that EA was contracted to the Premier League as the 'Official Sports Technology Partner' and the broadcaster understood that this arrangement included sponsorship of the league itself, a sponsor presence at matches, and in other Premier League-controlled properties, including the overseas broadcast feed." Sky Sports added that "as part of its contractual agreement with the Premier League for the live broadcast of certain matches, it is required, subject to applicable laws and the Ofcom codes, to provide an on-screen credit" for the "Official Technology Partner." Ofcom said that "in its view the inclusion of the logo could not be described as an editorially justified means of indicating to the audience who had been the technical provider of the statistical information in question." Due to the "14 repeated appearances of the logo," Sky Sports was "found in breach of Rule 10.3 of the Broadcast Code, which prohibits undue prominence of a product in programming" (MEDIAWEEK.co.uk, 2/7).

RUGBY RIGHTS: The GUARDIAN's Andy Wilson reported ESPN "could enter the market to televise" Super League rugby in the U.K. Rugby Football League Chair Richard Lewis predicted the "most intense and competitive bidding process" for rights to air the Super League and the Challenge Cup beginning in '12. The "existing deals for both competitions, with Sky and the BBC respectively, expire at the end of this season, in addition to Super League's title sponsorship with Engage Mutual Assurance" (GUARDIAN, 2/7).
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