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Danish Competition Council Accepts New Commitments regarding Danish Football Clubs’ Joint Sale of Media Rights

26. februar 2014

On 26 February 2014 the Danish Competition Council accepted new commitments offered by the Association of Danish League Clubs regarding the clubs’ joint sale of media rights to Danish league football. The commitments replace commitments from 2007.

The new commitments reduce the risk that a single buyer acquires live rights to all matches of the Superliga considerably. Furthermore, the two most attractive Superliga matches will be available for different broadcasters if the rights period exceeds three years.

The new commitments introduce the following main changes:

  • The maximum rights period is extended from three to six years.
  • A strengthened “no single buyer”-rule takes effect if the rights are sold for a period of more than three years :
    i. A broadcaster can only buy live rights to a maximum of 4 out of 6 matches (compared to 5 out of 6 now), and
    ii. A broadcaster cannot acquire live rights to both of the two most attractive matches.
  • Minimum prices are no longer allowed, because such practice can limit the number of bidders and thus trigger an exemption to the “no single buyer” rule.

The previous decision from 2007 broke with the Association of Danish League Clubs’ (“ADLC”) practice of selling the rights to the best Danish football league, the Superliga, to a single vertically integrated broadcaster. The decision has ensured that more broadcasters, and thus distributors, have had access to these attractive rights, which has also improved competition on the TV markets.

However, significant market developments on the Danish rights and TV markets give rise to a revision of the commitments from 2007. On the one hand, the Superliga enjoys a less unique position since the Champions League and the English Premier League are getting increasingly popular among Danish consumers.

On the other hand, there are only a few potential buyers left due to a consolidated market. Consequently, keeping the 2007 commitments would have entailed a big risk of triggering a provision allowing the ADLC to sell all the rights to a single broadcaster (i.e. less than three bidders who can meet the minimum prices).

The new commitments are offered by the ADLC in order to accommodate concerns of the Danish Competition Council related to the fact that the joint sale reduces the 12 Superliga clubs to a single market player on the supply side. Consequently, downstream parties only have one supplier of media rights to the Danish Superliga and they can only buy the rights at terms and prices set by the ADLC.

It is emphasised that the assessment of the commitments has been made in light of the particular circumstances on the relevant Danish rights and TV markets.

The next tender of the rights is set to take place in the spring of 2014 with effect for the 2015/16 season.

List of changes to the commitments (English)

Read the decision of the Competition Council (Danish).

For more information please contact Head of Division, Søren Bo Rasmussen, phone +45 41 71 52 76, e-mail sbr@kfst.dk.

Last updated: 26. februar 2014