BSkyB will have to loosen its grip on the much treasured rights to its Sky Sports channels after coming under fire from the UK competition regulator.
The competition appeal tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday granted BT YouView TV customers access to Sky Sports 1 and 2 for the first time ever after four years of legal battles in a bid to make sports broadcasts more accessible to consumers in the UK.
This follows a clash in 2010 between the two broadcasters which saw Ofcom tell BSkyB told it should drop its Sky Sports 1 and 2 wholesale prices by 23 per cent. CAT however rejected the watchdog’s ruling in 2012.
A BT Spokesman said: “BT has always maintained that Ofcom was correct to impose the ‘wholesale must offer’ on Sky and this remedy remains essential to address the significant competition concerns with Sky’s supply of its channels.
“We look forward to being able to offer these channels to our YouView customers very shortly.”
BSkyB said it would fight the interim decision, with a spokesman for the broadcasting stating: “Today’s judgment will have no impact on the ongoing legal process or the CAT’s previous dismissal of Ofcom’s core argument in favour of the wholesale must offer.”
Sky Sports has landed in hot water with Ofcom before, in September, deadline day reporter Alan Irwin was attacked with a purple dildo live on air.