BT makes plans to appeal Sky’s controversial sports pricing win

BT has announced plans to appeal a controversial competition ruling over the price Sky is able to charge other broadcasters for its sports channels.

The telecoms company said it had asked permission to challenge August’s decision from the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which stopped Ofcom from forcing Sky to lower the prices it can charge the likes of BT and Virgin Media for Sky Sports channels.

If BT is successful in winning permission to appeal, a five-year dispute between Sky and the communications regulator could reopen. Ofcom first began investigating Sky Sports prices in 2007, and ordered a cut in prices in 2010 in order to foster competition.

This was successfully appealed by Sky in August this year.

CAT said at the time that a “significant number of Ofcom’s pivotal findings of fact” were “inconsistent with the evidence”.

The findings were met with incredulity by Sky’s rivals.

A successful appeal now would be a significant boost to BT, which is making an aggressive push into sports broadcasting with the launch of its own sports channel next year.

Virgin Media, which did not itself ask permission because it would have been on the same grounds as BT’s appeal, said: “If permission is granted, we will intervene.”