Spanish watchdog fines Telefónica, Canal+ over football rights

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 27 July 2015

The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) has fined Telefónica and Canal+'s operator DTS €15.5 million in an effort to protect free competition in the football rights market.

The fine was handed out for the trading activities carried out during the 2012-13 and the 2014-15 seasons where the CNMC found that deals between DTS and Telefónica affected the market and profited both companies. The CNCM pointed out that the fine total is less than 1% of the business volume generated by both companies.

Regarding 2012, the CNMC says the agreement between DTS and Telefónica to commercialise Canal+Liga de Campeones and Canal+Liga followed a global strategy which profited Telefónica inside Spain's audiovisual market. Basically, Telefónica was able to ascertain DTS conditions for the sale before other competitors, and thus had more time to prepare its commercial strategy.

The same situation occurred for 2014-15 season, during which Telefónica completed the acquisition of DTS and Canal+, strengthening its lead position in the audiovisual market.

The CNMC imposed specific conditions on this deal, including that the company had to be open to sell any broadcasting rights other operators required.