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Virgin Media has asked Ofcom to investigate the way the Premier League sells the broadcast rights to its live football matches.

The cable broadband provider believes the current auction process - which has seen Sky and BT go head-to-head for the right to cover top-flight games - is driving up prices for fans and causing "significant consumer harm".

Ofcom said it is considering the complaint and will take around eight weeks to decide whether to launch a full investigation.

Virgin Media does not own TV rights for Premier League games, and earlier in 2014 it said it has no intention to bid for them in future.

However, the firm is directly affected by the rising cost of rights deals. Virgin Media pays both Sky and BT for wholesale access to their respective platforms, in order to offer Sky Sports and BT Sport as part of its TV and broadband bundles.

Virgin Media's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Brigitte Trafford claimed UK consumers pay the highest prices in Europe to watch football on TV.

She noted that costs are rising "rapidly" - and with the next TV rights auction expected to be worth over £3 billion, future increases can be expected.

In response, the Premier League said its TV rights have always been sold in "a transparent and open process".

"Regulators have examined our rights packaging and sales process in considerable detail in the past and found both of them to be compliant with UK and European competition law," it added.

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