The German Competition Authority discontinues its administrative proceeding against 2 TV broadcasters who secured exclusive rights to Champions League broadcast because of new market entrants and the unpredictability of football season due to COVID-19 (Sky / DAZN)

Proceeding against Sky and DAZN discontinued – Award procedure relating to Champions League broadcasting rights*

Today, the Bundeskartellamt discontinued its proceeding against Sky Ltd., London, and DAZN Group Ltd., London, for discretionary reasons; the proceeding had been conducted due to suspected anti-competitive agreements in connection with the award of UEFA Champions League broadcasting rights.

With a view to the companies’ conduct in future award procedures, the Bundeskartellamt had initiated an administrative proceeding against Sky and DAZN due to the suspicion that, prior to the award procedure, the companies had agreed to split the broadcasting rights for Germany for the seasons 2018/2019 to 2020/21 between them. Sky was the only company to acquire the broadcasting rights for all matches and then sublicensed the rights to some of the matches to DAZN. One of the consequences of the award procedure was that Champions League matches were no longer broadcast live on free TV.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt:

“At first, Sky and DAZN’s conduct seemed problematic under competition law. However, there were some reasons for discontinuing the proceeding. New players entering the market are increasing its dynamism, which was again demonstrated by the recent award procedure regarding Champions League broadcasting rights for matches as from the 2021/22 season. What is more, the effects of the Corona crisis on the current football season in Europe make near-term market developments hardly predictable. For this reason, it would currently be particularly difficult to assess the effects of an intervention under competition law.”

Unlike collusion prior to the award procedure, subsequent cooperations between broadcasters after the bidding and award processes are permissible under certain circumstances under competition law. In case of doubt, these cooperations have to be assessed by the competent competition authorities.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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German Competition Authority, The German Competition Authority discontinues its administrative proceeding against 2 TV broadcasters who secured exclusive rights to Champions League broadcast because of new market entrants and the unpredictability of football season due to COVID-19 (Sky / DAZN), 15 April 2020, e-Competitions May 2020 - II, Art. N° 94677

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