ABSTRACT

Although sport-governing bodies have often argued that the law and sport are distinct entities (Viewig 2000, Chappelet 2010), the Belgian Competition Council (BCC) and various media legislators have regularly infl uenced the sale, acquisition, and exploitation of sports broadcasting rights. The BCC, for example, granted a regulatory exemption to the practice of joint selling of football broadcasting rights, albeit conditional upon the acceptance of diff erent amendments (BCC 2005). Furthermore, in 2003, the BCC conditionally cleared Telenet’s (the Flemish cable operator) acquisition of Canal+: the pay-TV channel that owned the rights to live football matches of the Belgian fi rst division. In order to provide alternative operators with the opportunity to enter the Flemish broadcasting market, Telenet was required to off er Canal+ on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis (BCC 2003). The latter is better known as a ‘must-off er obligation.’ In 2010, the BCC decided partly to review this obligation and required Telenet to off er its pay-TV channel to alternative platform operators, but only if Telenet acquired all live broadcasting rights of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League1 (BCC 2010, Lefever and Kerremans 2011).