The Danish Competition Council has approved a partial, temporary suspension of the commitments regarding Danish Football Clubs’ Joint Sale of Media Rights

On 21 December 2022, the Danish Competition Council accepted a partial, temporary suspension from the commitments offered by the Association of Danish League Clubs (“ADLC”) regarding the clubs’ joint sale of the media rights to the Danish football league, the Superliga.

The commitments offered by the ADLC originally in 2007 and again in 2014 addressed the competition concerns of the Danish Competition Council, namely that the joint sale restricts competition between suppliers of media rights to the Superliga.

However, market developments on the TV markets has led the Competition Council to accept a partial, temporary suspension of the current commitments from 2014.

More specifically, the Danish Competition Council has concluded that there has been developments in relation to (i) the emergence of streaming services, (ii) consumers’ free choice of distributor, and (iii) consumers choice of tv channels in their tv packages.

The Danish Competition Council does however still have some concerns regarding a potential price increase for the broadcasters, distributors as well as the consumers, and a concern as to how the competition between the broadcasters and the distributors would be affected if the commitments were permanently repealed.

Therefore, the Danish Competition Council has granted a partial, temporary suspension of the current commitments. It is emphasized that the assessment of the commitments has been made in light of the particular circumstances on the relevant Danish media rights and TV markets.

The partial, temporary suspension includes a suspension of the “no single buyer”-rule. Under the current commitments, the rule determines that the media rights are sold in packages to multiple bidders, thereby prohibiting exclusivity. During the partial, temporary suspension, it will be possible for one broadcaster, streaming service or distributor to acquire the media rights to the Superliga exclusively.

The partial, temporary suspension also includes a simplification the current tender conditions. The Danish Competition Council finds it sufficient that a trustee will ensure that the media rights is sold in an open tender on equal, transparent and non-discriminatory terms.

The partial, temporary suspension will be valid for a period of four years and will apply to the forthcoming tender for the media rights. The forthcoming tender is set to take place in 2023/2024 with effect for the Superliga season starting in 2024.

The partial, temporary suspension also includes an evaluation of the forthcoming tender conducted under the terms of the suspension. The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority will make an assessment of how the suspension has affected price, competition between the broadcasters and distributors, and ultimately the consumer.