The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour by Sky, ITV, IMG and BT Sport in the way they purchase freelance services for production and broadcast of sport.
In a statement, the CMA said: “The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of competition law by at least the following: BT Group PLC, IMG Media Limited (including Premier League Productions), ITV PLC, and Sky UK Limited.”
The broadcasters are being investigated under Section 25 of the Competition Act, which allows the CMA to look into potential cartels. The CMA states, “the CMA believes it has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law.”
Should the CMA find the allegations to be proven, it has the power to make the companies sign a legal agreement to prevent it happening again, or fine them up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.
A Sky spokesperson said: “We are co-operating fully with the CMA.”
A BT Group spokesperson said: “We note today’s statement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and are reviewing the details while co-operating fully with their team. It is clear that CMA’s investigation is focused very specifically on the purchase of freelance services and not any other aspects of the BT Sport or wider BT Group business.”
IMG confirmed that it has been the subject of an on-site inspection by the CMA. In a statement the company said it is “co-operating with the CMA in its inspection. No further comment will be made at this time”.
In its statement, ITV said it noted the announcement by the CMA, and added: “ITV is committed to complying with competition law and is co-operating with the CMA’s inquiries. ITV does not propose to comment on this investigation further at this stage.”