The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation on BT, IMG Media, (including Premier League Productions), ITV and Sky.
The investigation relates to the purchase of freelance services by these companies, which support the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK. This may include freelance camera crew, runners and other behind-the-scenes freelance workers.
Under section 25 of the Competition Act 1998, there have been suspected infringements of the Chapter I prohibition of the CA98 by companies involved in the production and broadcasting of sports content.
The CMA said in a statement: “At this stage the CMA believes it has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law. The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any party or parties.”
With no clear evidence however, the group continued: “Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections and no assumption should be made at this stage that the CA98 has been infringed.”
Whilst IMG has been subject to an ‘on-site inspection’, spokespersons for the parties involved have each assured that the groups are ‘fully cooperating’ with the authority.
ITV highlighted: “ITV notes the announcement today by the UK Competition and Markets Authority that it has opened an investigation into the purchase of freelance services, which support the production and broadcasting of sports content, in the United Kingdom by ITV and other named companies in the sector.
“ITV is committed to complying with competition law and is cooperating with the CMA’s inquiries. ITV does not propose to comment on this investigation further at this stage.”
A BT Group spokesperson added that ‘it is clear’ that CMA’s investigation is focussed very specifically on the purchase of freelance services and not any other aspects of the BT Sport or wider BT Group business.