Good news for sports fans!

I hardly need to say that the title is no reflection on England’s World Cup performance – or lack thereof. Instead, it relates to the opportunity for more people to watch the Premier League, which I’m sure most of you’ll agree is good news!

In 2007, BT, Virgin, Top up TV and Setanta complained about Sky’s dominance within the pay-TV industry. We considered Sky’s dominance and the subsequent investigation by Ofcom in a posting in March: Is the sky falling in?. Ofcom ruled that Sky would have to reduce the price it charged to other broadcasters to show its premium sports channels.

In more recent developments, there has now been a deal signed between Sky and BT, which will allow BT Vision customers to view Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 from August 1st 2010 (just in time for the start of the new football season, for those that are interested!) There are still ongoing debates about how much BT will charge for these new channels and it will depend largely on the outcome of the Sky’s appeal against Ofcom’s decision about the prices Sky has set. Although this may be good news to BT Vision viewers (excluding the fact that the deal does not include Sky Sports 3 and 4), there are many who agree on just one point: the regulator got it wrong. The Premier League could lose millions due to a loss of exclusivity and BSkyB argues that Ofcom didn’t even have the right to make the ruling.

These mini disputes are likely to go on for some time, but at least we can be certain about one thing: Ofcom’s decision can’t be any worse than Capello’s decisions in South Africa! Bring on the Premier League!!


Sky Sports 1 and 2 available to BT vision customers BBC News (28/6/10)
BT to offer Sky Sports in time for soccer season Reuters (28/6/10)
BT signs BSkyB deal to show Sky Sports channels BusinessWeek, Simon Thiel (28/6/10)
Sky forced to cut price of sports channels Telegraph (31/3/10)
New ruling lets fans see Premier League on TV for just £15 a month London Evening Standard, Jonathan Prynn (31/3/10)
Virgin media cuts Sky Channels prices Digital Spy, Andrew Laughlin (11/6/10)
BSkyB, BT and FAPL join Ofcom appeal Broadband TV News (11/6/10)
Sky wrongfoots rival BT by raising prices Guardian, Richard Wray (30/6/10)
BT charges £16.99 for Sports 1 and 2 BBC News (1/7/10)
BT launches cheap package to view Sky Sports Guardian, Lisa Bachelor (1/7/10)
BT Wades Into Pay-TV Sports Market Sky News, Nick Phipps and Emma Rowley (1/7/10)
Sky Sports broadcast costs set to rise BBC News, John Moylan (1/7/10)

Ofcom report
Delivering consumer benefits in Pay TV Ofcom Press Release (31/3/10)


  1. Ofcom’s initial ruling forced Sky to reduce prices. What will be the impact on a demand curve? How might this affect consumer choice?
  2. Sky has 85% of the market. Would you class it as a monopoly? Explain your answer. Is this agreement between Sky and BT likely to reduce or increase Sky’s market power?
  3. How might other Pay-TV providers be affected by this decision?
  4. What are the disputes surrounding Ofcom’s decision? Why might the Premier League lose so much revenue?