Premier League TV rights and Virgin Media - Q&A

The ins and outs of Virgin Media's complaint

Q: What is the issue with the Premier League and Virgin Media?

A: Virgin Media has been a thorn in the side of the Premier League for several months now, having lodged a complaint with Ofcom over how the league sells its domestic TV rights. It has now asked Ofcom to halt the Premier League's auction of TV rights next month.

Q: What is the basis of Virgin Media's complaint?

A: It claims TV viewers in Britain are being charged too much to watch top-flight football compared to those in the rest of the EU. It also wants viewers to be able to watch all matches live on TV.

Q: Does Ofcom have the power to halt the TV rights auction?

A: As the broadcast regulator it does have the power but perhaps significantly could itself have instituted measures to halt the auction two months ago but chose not to.

Q: What is likely to happen now?

A: The most likely scenario is that Ofcom will allow the auction to proceed.

Q: How much is the auction likely to be worth to the Premier League and who is in the running?

A: The 2013-16 domestic rights were sold for an astonishing £3.018billion to Sky and BT Sport and the next three-year rights deals are expected to bring in even more - especially with the Discovery channel also expected to bid and possibly Qatar-based beIN Sport too. There will also be live Friday night matches available for the first time.

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