The Centralised Sale of Football Media Rights in Europe
34 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2021
Date Written: September 6, 2021
We analyse the competitive effects of the centralised sale of football media rights in Europe, focusing on the “Big Five” countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain). Contrary to the recent findings of European competition authorities, we consider that there are arguments in favour of the relevant market for domestic media rights being club- or even match-specific. This raises the question of what competition is restricted by the centralised sale if the rights on offer do not compete. If the media rights of different clubs are indeed complementary and because of the potential efficiency gains from bundling, we conclude that the centralised sale of media rights is unlikely to be anticompetitive and may have procompetitive effects. We further show that under a club or match-specific market definition, a no-single-buyer rule likely reduces the benefits from the centralised sale and may be to the detriment of consumers.
Keywords: Football, Media rights, Auctions, Horizontal Agreements, Television
JEL Classification: L82, L83, L43
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