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NMa clears acquisition of Dutch soccer broadcasting rights by Fox

Some restrictions on commercial exploitation of broadcasting rights

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has cleared the acquisition of Eredivisie Media en Marketing (EMM) by Fox International Channels (Fox).

With this move, Fox gains a majority stake of 51 percent in EMM, which commercially exploits the broadcasting rights of the top soccer league in the Netherlands on behalf of the top soccer clubs. Henk Don, member of the Board of the NMa adds: ‘The clubs in the top league will receive EUR 80 million per year through 2025, which is a huge investment in Dutch soccer.’

The Dutch Media Act mandates that soccer match summaries are broadcasted on Sunday evenings on an open channel that can be received by at least 75 percent of all Dutch households, without any additional costs. The match summaries are currently broadcasted by NOS, one of the major Dutch public stations. That license expires on July 1, 2014.

If EMM decided to broadcast the match summaries on a new television station once the NOS license expires, the license period would be limited to six years at the most. That period is needed for positioning a new station in the market. According to the NMa, competition between television stations will increase as consumers will have a wider selection of stations. Mr. Don explains: ‘After those six years, the soccer clubs must put out the broadcasting rights to tender. All television stations will then be able to compete for the rights to the match summaries again.’ It is up to the soccer clubs, not to EMM, to decide who will get the rights.

The acquisition will not have any effects on the commercial exploitation of the broadcasting rights of the live matches through the Eredivisie Live stations. EMM has made a commitment to the NMa that it will offer these stations to television providers on cable, satellite or the air under the same conditions (non-discrimination).