Ofcom rejects BT complaint over Sky Sports advertising blackout

BT HAS lost a battle to force BSkyB to screen its adverts on Sky’s own sports channels.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, yesterday struck down BT’s complaint, saying: “Sky is pursuing a legitimate commercial interest.” BT had gone to Ofcom after Sky refused to display adverts for BT’s new sports service on its Sky Sports channels.

The victory for Sky is one of the opening salvos in a summer battle between the two companies. BT is attempting to win back broadband customers who have defected to Sky by offering its internet users free access to its sports channels.

Sky’s director of corporate affairs, Graham McWilliam, said: “BT’s demands are a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury's.”

BT brushed off the defeat, saying an Ofcom investigation into Sky refusing to screen Sky Sports on BT’s YouView service was a much more significant development.