“We do not undertake this process lightly; however the consequences for UK sport and UK sports fans are too serious and fundamental for us to ignore,” said Scudamore. “By forcing Sky to sell its sports channels to its competitors at a discount, Ofcom will reduce the incentives of all broadcasters, Sky included, to invest in the acquisition of sports rights.”
Late last month Ofcom’s Pay-TV Review concluded that Sky must supply Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 across all platforms at a wholesale rate determined by the regulator. This prompted fears from sports bodies that the apparent loss of exclusivity and reduction in carriage fees could substantially reduce the sums realised from UK broadcasters. The Premier League will receive close to £1,782 million for the six UK packages between the 2010/11 to 2012/13 seasons.
In a clear reference to broadcasters including Virgin Media and Top Up TV, whose complaint to Ofcom initiated the review, Scudamore said the effect of Ofcom’s actions would be to subsidise companies that had shown little appetite for investing in content.