Sports and Comeptition Law: Anti-competitive Implications of Vertical Integration between the Media and Sports Industry
The world of sports has gone through some remarkable changes over the past couple of decades; many sports teams have developed into full-fledged businesses and can today be traded on the stock exchange and have annual turnovers of several million dollars. The teams themselves have together with the media industry lead the development from sports as merely entertainment into an entertainment industry; with this development, the question of whether competition laws should apply also to sports has become inevitable. The increased interdependence between media and sport, which in an increasing number of instances has lead to integration between the media and sports industry,through media companies acquiring control over athletic teams further highlights the problem. One of the more recent occurances is the attempt by BSkyB to acuire Manchester United, should one see to the potential anti-competitive implications which may lie in this integration or should the industries be allowed to form these kind of bonds. Is vertical integration between the media industry and the sports industry subject to the competition laws? If that is the case, should this kind of integration be permissible - if not - should it be impermissible in full or to what extent? The purpose of this paper is to try to clarify these issues.
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