From Bloomberg Sports
The European Commission formally proposed restricting exclusive
tv rights to make certain that all viewers can watch major
sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the soccer World
Rallying to the defense of sports fans, the commisison, the
executive agency of the 15 nation European Union, spelled out
regulations that would force cable and pay-per-view operators
such as the UK based BSkyB, France's C***Plus, and Germany's
Kirch to broadcast to a non-paying audience.
Saying the proposal strikes a balance between teh public's right
to know and the TV networks' pursuit of profit, Marcelino Oreja,
the commissioner for media and cultural affairs, said the cost to
advertisers and broadcasters will be minimal.
The proposals will have a "negative economic impact on the
market, but I don't think it's going to be that great," Oreja
said. Eight EU countries have similar codes of conduct and two
more have legislation in the works, he added.
Under the plan, which requiers approval by the European
Parliament and the Council of Ministers, at least portions of
eventw with a "major importance for society" would have to be
shown on free television.
Oreja declined to answer questions about compensation for
broadcasters that claim ecnomic damage from restrictions on
exclusive rights, putting that issue in the hand of national
High-profile internatonal contests such as the Olympics or
European soccer cup would come under the regulations. So would
events with a more national or regional appeal, like the Tour de
France or Scottish Cup, th ecommission said. National
governments would judge the importance of each event.