Premier League TV deal costs fans too much says Virgin Media in complaint to Ofcom

Joe Hall
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Around 41 per cent of Premier League games are broadcast live (Source: Getty)

Virgin Media has submitted a formal complaint to Ofcom about the way Premier League television rights are auctioned.
The company believes fans in the UK are being charged too much to watch games from England's top tier.
In 2012 the Premier League sold domestic TV rights to BSkyB and British Telecom (BT) for a combined £3bn, a 70 per cent increase on the previous deal.
Around 41 per cent of the league's matches are made available to broadcast, compared to 100 per cent in Europe's other major leagues. The Premier League has a self-imposed "3pm blackout" preventing any games that kick-off at 3pm on Saturday afternoons from being broadcast live in the UK.
Virgin Media insists it has no intention of bidding in the next auction for TV rights at the end of this football season, which it says will result in a 60 per cent rise in further costs.
In a complaint filed to broadcasting regulator Ofcom, the British company calls for a formal investigation into the Premier League bidding process.
The Liberty Global-owned company claims commitments given to the Premier League in 2006, which were intended to promote competition between broadcasters and increase the number of games made available, have not been met.
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.

The complaint is currently in an eight week "assessment phase" with Ofcom, with Virgin Media expecting a response in late October/early November.

An Ofcom spokesperson said:

Ofcom can confirm that Virgin Media has submitted a competition complaint about the Premier League. We are considering the complaint, before deciding whether any further action is required.

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