Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court has ruled in favour of Swisscom after it challenged an exclusive rights agreement between UPC and top Swiss ice hockey leagues NLA and NLB.
UPC, now branded as Sunrise, acquired the rights to the competitions on 2016, with the intention of screening the matches on its premium channel MySports. However, Swisscom wanted to buy subsidiary rights and began negotiation with UPC. When an agreement couldn’t be reach, Swisscom accused UPC of unreasonable behaviour and headed to court.
Competition Commission Weko intiially sanctioned UPC, action that has now been upheld by the court, and forcing Sunrise to pay a fine of around SFr 29 million.
Sunrise is believed to pay an annual SFr 34 million for the rights.
However, the court has also ordered Sunrise makes available either the raw feed of its ice hockey coverage or access to the MySports offer.
The court justified its decision by saying that UPC had refused to make Swisscom an offer to broadcast live ice hockey games for almost three years.
UPC had argued that Swisscom was itself very competitive, having acquired exclusive rights to a number of football marches.
Sunrise can still take the case to appeal at the Federal Court.