British government to consider protecting major football rights online

Kiran Thakare 2 months ago

Sporting events with the biggest public interest already must appear on free-to-air television in the UK

The British government has confirmed it is set to discuss protecting online rights to major sporting events, including football, to ensure they are available to the public via free-to-air channels.

The biggest events in the sporting calendar, including the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Olympics, are protected under British law and therefore are required to be accessible to all members of the public on free television.

For this reason, the competitions in question cannot sell their broadcast rights to pay-TV broadcasters. That is why the World Cup always appears on free terrestrial TV via the BBC and ITV. However, the same protections do not apply when it comes to the digital space, with organisations currently able to sell their digital rights to paid subscription platforms.

That may soon change as the government reportedly wants to ensure that these events are protected when it comes to live streaming online.

Julia Lopez, Digital Infrastructure Minister for the UK Government, said:

"As viewing habits shift online, it is right that we review our rules and consider whether updates are needed to ensure our brilliant public service broadcasters can continue to bring major events to the public at no extra cost".

This government review will get underway as England and Wales prepare to start their World Cup campaigns next week. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be broadcast exclusively on the BBC and ITV on both linear television and online via their live streaming platforms BBC iPlayer and ITVX.

The government has confirmed that it does not plan to review which live events should or shouldn't be on the protected list.

Come back for more football business news about the topics of finance, broadcasting, streaming and much more.

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