The investigation was launched in November 2014 following a complaint by Virgin Media that the then process was causing consumer harm.
The cablenet’s CEO welcomed the move. “Football fans will now be able to watch more live action on TV. As the only TV provider to offer all the available games, we are pleased that after a two-year campaign the Premier League has agreed to offer more TV games,” said Tom Mockridge.
Ofcom says its taken into account the Premier League’s recent decision to increase the number of matches available for live broadcast in the UK, to a minimum of 190 per season from the start of the 2019/20 season. This is 22 more matches per season than were included in the Premier League’s 2015 auction.
Sky Sports has held rights to the Premier League since its launch in 1992. Following the intervention of the European Commission in 2006 a second rights holder has been brought in; initially Setanta and then ESPN, and currently BT Sport.
The next Premier League Auction will bring in a ‘no single buyer’ rule into the Premier League contract. This will ensure more than one broadcaster has access to rights. At least 42 matches per season will be reserved for a second buyer, of which a minimum of 30 will be available for broadcast at the weekend.
Consumer research conducted by the regulator found a fifth of fans wanted to see more matches televised live. A similar proportion said they were happy with the overall number of matches broadcast live, but wanted to see different matches shown.
Among match-going fans, a high proportion said that the day of the week and kick-off time was of high importance, with over two-thirds of this group identifying the Saturday 3pm kick off as their preferred time to attend.
The Football Association sets a closed window between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday that prevents live televised football matches. The move designed to protect the attendance at smaller clubs.