Goal for BT as BSkyB loses sports channel legal battle

Emma Haslett
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Sky Sports 1 and 2 will become available to BT customers "very shortly", it said (Source: Getty)

BSkyB will be forced to offer its sports channels to BT's YouView customers after it lost a legal battle with its new rival.

The UK Competition Appeals Tribunal ruled today that rules which determine what price Sky must offer its channels at should also cover internet television services.

Until now, the broadcaster has resisted providing its channels to YouView, in which the BBC and TalkTalk also have a stake, because it had not launched when the "wholesale must offer" rules were first put in place.

This isn't the last we'll hear of BSkyB and BT's long-running battle: the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) is still yet to decide whether Ofcom made the right decision in forcing Sky to supply its premium sports channels to other providers. Although the Tribunal originally came down on Sky's side, the Court of Appeal decided otherwise earlier this year.

A Sky spokesperson said:
Today’s judgment is a purely interim measure with no impact on the ongoing legal process or the CAT’s previous dismissal of the core argument in favour of WMO. Ofcom itself is reviewing WMO in light of market developments and we continue to believe that this unwarranted obligation should be removed entirely.

YouView is now in more than one million homes, and is becoming increasingly important to BT. The company said Sky Sports 1 and 2 will be available to its customers "very shortly" - a kick in the teeth for Sky.

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