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Volume 6 No. 211


Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said that BSkyB "did not unduly discriminate against BT" by blocking its multi-mullion pound TV advertising campaign to promote rival Premier League coverage, according to Josh Halliday of the GUARDIAN. BT complained to the media regulator in February "after BSkyB refused to carry advertising on Sky Sports for its new BT Sport channels." However, Ofcom "dismissed the complaint on Thursday," ruling that BSkyB was "pursuing a legitimate commercial interest" by blocking promotion of a rival's sports coverage. BSkyB said it was "pleased" at the result and compared BT's demands to "a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury's" (GUARDIAN, 6/20).

SKY'S THE LIMIT: In London, Christopher Williams reported BT "made a more significant complaint" to Ofcom against BSkyB alleging abuse of market power. BSkyB "has refused to let BT sell the Sky Sports channels on the YouView platform unless it can sell BT Sport to satellite subscribers." Ofcom said that it would "investigate and rule on that complaint next month but BSkyB nevertheless toasted its victory in the fight over advertising." BSkyB Corporate Affairs Dir Graham McWilliam said, "We are pleased that Ofcom has confirmed that we are acting entirely reasonably in declining to advertise a direct competitor on Sky Sports." BT, which also "delivered the bombshell news to investors" on Wednesday that CEO Ian Livingston will quit in September to become trade minister, insisted it had been “a good week for BT in terms of regulation.” A BT spokesperson said, "With regulation you win some and you lose some. Whilst this decision has gone against us, we are delighted that Ofcom is going to investigate Sky over their refusal to supply us with Sky Sports on YouView'' (TELEGRAPH, 6/20).

Former England captain and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has accused the Premier League of having a "disregard for the best interests" of the national team, according to the BBC. Lineker believes the top-flight schedule "does not help" England Manager Roy Hodgson. Liverpool hosts ManU while Arsenal plays Tottenham on the weekend of Aug. 31, just "days before England face Moldova and Ukraine." Lineker wrote on Twitter: "Never help ourselves!" The games at Anfield and the Emirates "could be played on" Sunday, Sept. 1 for live TV coverage. Lineker added: "Onus now on Sky and BT Sport to do the right thing and leave the games on Saturday. Time to put the nation's interests before their own." The FA "declined to comment," but it is understood "no formal request was made regarding fixtures, although the issue was discussed at a meeting." Hodgson "could have as many as 20 members of his squad on duty at Anfield and the Emirates" (BBC, 6/20).

Portuguese Football League (LPFP) President Mario Figueiredo has said that the organization "will appeal to the European Commission if the country’s media regulator, the ERC, refuses to block a proposed deal" for telecom company Portugal Telecom to acquire a 25% stake in pay-TV broadcaster Sport TV, according to SOCCEREX. Figueiredo said that the move would further strengthen the "dominant" position of the Olivedesportos agency, which is controlled by businessman Joaquim Oliveira, who is also a co-owner of Sport TV. Figueiredo believes that "the deal would reduce competition for the Primeira Liga’s rights -- which he is hoping to centralise -- with Portugal Telecom set to join the Zon Multimedia and Sportinveste media companies as a shareholder in Sport TV." The LPFP president "is seeking to centralise the Liga’s television rights in a bid to encourage greater financial equality amongst its clubs" (SOCCEREX, 6/20).

The fifth and final game of the Spanish Basketball League (ACB) championship series between Real Madrid and Barcelona, broadcast Wednesday on TVE's La 1, drew the most views of any ACB contest since '07, according to AS. Wednesday's game, which Real Madrid won 79-71, drew 2.8 million viewers and a market share of 14.7%. Additionally, "a total of 9.2 million people were tuned in to the game at some point." The contest was the most viewed game of the season in the most watched ACB campaign since '97, the fourth-most viewed year in league history (AS, 6/20).