European Commission Raids Sports Rights Organizations


Fox Networks Group in the U.K. was among the companies that received “unannounced inspections” yesterday by the European Commission, which is looking into potential anti-competitive behavior in the sports media rights sector.

“The European Commission can confirm that on April 10, 2018, its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several member states at the premises of companies active in the distribution of media rights and related rights pertaining to various sports events and/or their broadcasting,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Commission says it is concerned that the companies that were raided “violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.”

The raids are the first step in the Commission’s exploration of suspected anticompetitive practices. “The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defense, in particular, the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.”

Fox Networks Group said it is cooperating fully with the inspection. It is not clear which other companies were subjected to Commission raids.