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Joint selling of television rights – an EU competition law perspective and a comparative analysis of the impact of Regulation 1/2003

Schön, Maurits LU (2018) JAEM01 20181
Department of Law
Abstract
This thesis will deal with two competition law issues, a substantive one as well as a procedural and
somehow political one. The substantive issue is the joint sale of television rights of football clubs
from a EU competition law perspective. The procedural subject of this thesis is the impact of
Regulation 1/2003 on competition law enforcement and on the uniform application of the
competition rules within the European Union.
The thesis will firstly analyse the European Commission decision regarding the joint sale of
television rights of the UEFA Champions League. This decision was an exemption decision,
adopted under Art. 101(3) TFEU and the procedural Regulation 17/62. The analysis will focus on
the legal assessment of the... (More)
This thesis will deal with two competition law issues, a substantive one as well as a procedural and
somehow political one. The substantive issue is the joint sale of television rights of football clubs
from a EU competition law perspective. The procedural subject of this thesis is the impact of
Regulation 1/2003 on competition law enforcement and on the uniform application of the
competition rules within the European Union.
The thesis will firstly analyse the European Commission decision regarding the joint sale of
television rights of the UEFA Champions League. This decision was an exemption decision,
adopted under Art. 101(3) TFEU and the procedural Regulation 17/62. The analysis will focus on
the legal assessment of the Commission under Art. 101(1) and 101(3) TFEU and carve out
conclusions concerning the policy of the Commission.
In a second step, the thesis will picture how European competition policy is reflected in the new
enforcement regime of Regulation 1/2003 and which changes this new regime introduced. The
centre of portrayal will be the two big procedural changes: the shift from ex ante to ex post control
and the decentralisation of competition law enforcement and also a substantive novelty, i.e.e. the
new enforcement tool of commitment decisions under Art. 9 of Regulation 1/2003 and the benefits
and risks linked to that tool. By critically assessing the Commission’s own reports on the
functioning of the new enforcement regime, the thesis will argue that it is necessary to take a closer
look on the aims and approaches of the Commission and the NCAs in similar cases, to actually
draw conclusions regarding the uniformity of the application of competition law and policy by the
different competition law enforcers within the EU.
The fourth and fifth chapter will therefore contain a comparative analysis of several decisions
concerning the same matter. Following the UEFA Champions League case, the Commission
adopted two commitment decisions under Art. 9 of Regulation 1/2003 regarding the joint sale of
television rights. The Commission ended proceedings in the German Bundesliga case, 2005, and the
FA Premier League case, 2006, by making the imposed commitments binding on the associations of
football clubs. Those commitments were only binding until 2009 and 2013 respectively; it was for
the NCA of Germany and the NRA of the UK to further deal with the joint sale of media rights of
their national football leagues after those commitments expired. The German Bundeskartellamt
adopted commitment decisions in 2012 and 2016 under national procedural rules and the British
Ofcom closed its investigation in 2016 by referring back to the European Commission’s decision
III
from 2006. How the Commission and the two national authorities dealt with the joint sale and
especially the legal assessment under Art. 101 TFEU and the commitments they used to target the
anticompetitive constraints identified, will be assessed in detail and compared in this chapters. The
thesis will show, that the new tool of commitment decisions under Art. 9 Regulation 1/2003, the
margin of discretion for competition authorities regarding their allocation of investigative resources
and the different approaches of the Commission and NCAs bear risks of an inconsistent policy and
application of European competition law, that need to be kept in sight. On the other hand, the thesis
will illustrate how Regulation 1/2003 and especially the competence to accept commitments
provide a more flexible tool to react to the constant changes on economic markets.
In the last chapter of the thesis, the author will give an outlook on how competition law and law
enforcers within the EU could deal with the joint sale of media rights in the future. (Less)
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author
Schön, Maurits LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAEM01 20181
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Competition Law, Broadcasting Rights, European Commission, Ofcom, Bundeskartellamt, UEFA-Champions League, Bundesliga, FA Premier League
language
English
id
8944139
date added to LUP
2018-06-11 15:56:13
date last changed
2018-06-11 15:56:13
@misc{8944139,
  abstract     = {This thesis will deal with two competition law issues, a substantive one as well as a procedural and
somehow political one. The substantive issue is the joint sale of television rights of football clubs
from a EU competition law perspective. The procedural subject of this thesis is the impact of
Regulation 1/2003 on competition law enforcement and on the uniform application of the
competition rules within the European Union.
The thesis will firstly analyse the European Commission decision regarding the joint sale of
television rights of the UEFA Champions League. This decision was an exemption decision,
adopted under Art. 101(3) TFEU and the procedural Regulation 17/62. The analysis will focus on
the legal assessment of the Commission under Art. 101(1) and 101(3) TFEU and carve out
conclusions concerning the policy of the Commission.
In a second step, the thesis will picture how European competition policy is reflected in the new
enforcement regime of Regulation 1/2003 and which changes this new regime introduced. The
centre of portrayal will be the two big procedural changes: the shift from ex ante to ex post control
and the decentralisation of competition law enforcement and also a substantive novelty, i.e.e. the
new enforcement tool of commitment decisions under Art. 9 of Regulation 1/2003 and the benefits
and risks linked to that tool. By critically assessing the Commission’s own reports on the
functioning of the new enforcement regime, the thesis will argue that it is necessary to take a closer
look on the aims and approaches of the Commission and the NCAs in similar cases, to actually
draw conclusions regarding the uniformity of the application of competition law and policy by the
different competition law enforcers within the EU.
The fourth and fifth chapter will therefore contain a comparative analysis of several decisions
concerning the same matter. Following the UEFA Champions League case, the Commission
adopted two commitment decisions under Art. 9 of Regulation 1/2003 regarding the joint sale of
television rights. The Commission ended proceedings in the German Bundesliga case, 2005, and the
FA Premier League case, 2006, by making the imposed commitments binding on the associations of
football clubs. Those commitments were only binding until 2009 and 2013 respectively; it was for
the NCA of Germany and the NRA of the UK to further deal with the joint sale of media rights of
their national football leagues after those commitments expired. The German Bundeskartellamt
adopted commitment decisions in 2012 and 2016 under national procedural rules and the British
Ofcom closed its investigation in 2016 by referring back to the European Commission’s decision
III
from 2006. How the Commission and the two national authorities dealt with the joint sale and
especially the legal assessment under Art. 101 TFEU and the commitments they used to target the
anticompetitive constraints identified, will be assessed in detail and compared in this chapters. The
thesis will show, that the new tool of commitment decisions under Art. 9 Regulation 1/2003, the
margin of discretion for competition authorities regarding their allocation of investigative resources
and the different approaches of the Commission and NCAs bear risks of an inconsistent policy and
application of European competition law, that need to be kept in sight. On the other hand, the thesis
will illustrate how Regulation 1/2003 and especially the competence to accept commitments
provide a more flexible tool to react to the constant changes on economic markets.
In the last chapter of the thesis, the author will give an outlook on how competition law and law
enforcers within the EU could deal with the joint sale of media rights in the future.},
  author       = {Schön, Maurits},
  keyword      = {Competition Law,Broadcasting Rights,European Commission,Ofcom,Bundeskartellamt,UEFA-Champions League,Bundesliga,FA Premier League},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Joint selling of television rights – an EU competition law perspective and a comparative analysis of the impact of Regulation 1/2003},
  year         = {2018},
}