Thursday, February 03, 2011

Regional EU Broadcast Blackouts for Sports Events Denied by the Advocate General of the European Court, Ruling in Favor of English Pub TV via Satellite

In an initial ruling on a case having broad implications for the broadcast of sports events in the European Union, FourFourTwo News in England headlines that the EU Court rules against satellite TV ban.

Currently, similar to the broadcast practice of TV broadcasters in the United States, TV sports broadcasts in the European Union can be blacked out regionally to insure that fans attend the games in their region, rather than sitting in front of the TV at home, office or leisure. For example, an English soccer ("association football") game that is blacked out in the UK can currently well be broadcast live to other EU countries, where actual game attendance is not thereby affected.

Since satellite decoders in the European Union and also in the UK are both able to receive the "out-of-UK" broadcasts, pub owners in the United Kingdom have been decoding the blacked out broadcasts and have been broadcasting them live in their pubs.

The EU Advocate General, which "prehears" EU cases, has stated that regional blackouts in the EU are contrary to the European Union foundation of having a "single internal market" and that such a "partition" of that internal market by television broadcasters violates the EU principle.

Read the whole thing here.

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