Virgin Media calls for Ofcom review into football rights sale

Virgin Media logoVirgin Media has asked UK broadcast regulator Ofcom to launch a formal review into how Premier League football rights are sold in the UK. 

The request on competition grounds, comes ahead of the next Premier League rights auction, which is expected to see a substantial inflation in costs.

Virgin said believes “significant consumer harm” results from escalating rights costs, which can be addressed by “targeted changes to the way in which live rights are sold, while preserving the benefits of joint selling.”

Brigitte Trafford, Virgin Media’s chief corporate affairs officer, said: “The rapidly rising cost of Premier League live broadcast rights means UK fans pay the highest prices in Europe to watch football on TV. Virgin Media has asked Ofcom to investigate how the rights are sold ahead of the next auction.”

In the last Premier League auction, live UK TV rights – which were bought up by Virgin’s rivals BSkyB and BT – came to £3 billion over three years.