The UK competition regulator has opened an investigation into whether BT, IMG Media, ITV and Sky are fixing the rate offered to freelance workers who provide their services at sports broadcasts.
The Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday said its probe related to the purchase “of freelance services which support the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK”.
The CMA said it had “reasonable grounds” to suspect at least one breach of competition law.
The probe will focus on the pay offered to highly skilled workers, such as camera operators and sound engineers, who offer their services to a range of broadcasters according to the game and match, said two people briefed on the investigation.
This month, BT Sport secured the rights to the majority of the Uefa Champions League matches as well as all of the Uefa Europa League and the Europa Conference League, for a further three seasons.
IMG Media produces and distributes the Premier League’s international content through a division called Premier League Productions.
BT said in a statement: “It is clear that CMA’s investigation is focused very specifically on the purchase of freelance services and not any other aspects of the BT Sport or wider BT Group business.”
ITV said it was “committed to complying with competition law and is co-operating with the CMA’s inquiries”.
The regulator has wide latitude in competition act cases and can fine companies up to 10 per cent of turnover if it uncovers wrongdoing.
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