Swiss court confirms Swisscom fine in sports TV marketing case

Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court has confirmed a fine of CHF71.8 million on Swisscom and its Cinetrade subsidiary, now known as Blue Entertainment, in a long-running competition case concerning the marketing of sports content.

Switzerland’s Competition Commission (COMCO) levied the fine on the telco in 2016 for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the provision of national football and ice-hockey coverage between 2002 and 2012. Swisscom had been obliged to offer rival platforms an equivalent content line-up on non-discriminatory terms.

Swisscom maintains that it behaved lawfully and said it would consider whether it could appeal to the Federal Supreme Court.

The telco says it was justified in offering what it describes as a “minimally expanded” sports offering on its own TV platform beyond that available to rivals to justify “significant investments’ it and Cinetrade made in sports broadcasts that had, according to Swisscom, been neglected previously.

Swisscom maintains that it expanded the range of sports content available to Swiss viewers in a market that had previously been dominated by cable.

Swisscom’s monopoly on premium sports in Switzerland was broken when rival UPC Switzerland’s MySports offshoot acquired the rights to ice hockey. In 2020 the pair struck a reciprocal deal whereby Swisscom was able to to provide MySports’ ice hockey coverage and UPC Switzerland – now Sunrise UPC – was able to provide Swisscom-backed pay TV offering Teleclub to its own subscribers.

UPC had earlier been fined CHF30 million for its previous refusal to supply ice hockey games to Swisscom.

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