Should EURO 2012 be broadcast free of charge to all European citizens?
Published 03 August 2012 By: Daniel Geey
With the European Championship (EUROs) starting on Friday, I thought it may be topical to briefly discuss some of the ongoing broadcasting rights issues associated with the EUROs and the World Cup.
Last year UEFA and FIFA failed in an action challenging the 'listing' of the EUROs and World Cup as events of national importance. UEFA contended that they could not effectively maximise their broadcasting revenues for the World Cup and EUROs because they were constrained as to the broadcasters to whom they could sell the broadcasts.
In three separate cases, UEFA and FIFA brought actions before the European courts relating to the way its broadcasting rights can be marketed in Belgium and the UK. In particular, the UK listed every match in the EUROs as being of national significance. That practically meant that only terrestrial broadcasters could bid to screen the EUROs. UEFA challenged this decision.
What is apparent throughout the three decisions is the inherent tension between a government's duty to safeguard certain sporting and cultural events and the need for a robust and competitive market in the sale of live sports rights.
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Daniel is a Partner in the Sport Group.
Daniel’s practice focuses on helping clients in the sports sector, including rights holders, leagues, governing bodies, clubs, agencies, athletes, sports technology companies, broadcasters and financial institutions.