The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will be closely examining the conditions that FOX/Eredivisie Media and Marketing C.V. (Fox) has attached to the sale of the broadcasting rights for live matches of the Eredivisie, which is the top division of the Dutch football league.
The 2016-2017 season will start on August 5. For the next few years, Fox has concluded new contracts for the distribution of live broadcasts of Eredivisie matches. For some distributors, their contracts will expire on July 31, while for others, such as cable companies and telecom providers, theirs will not. The new conditions seem to differ significantly from those in current contracts. To those distributors whose contracts are about to expire, other conditions thus apply. That distinction may create an unlevel playing field between distributors with a new contract, and distributors whose contracts are still in force. This may lead to price increases of TV plans or to a reduction in options for consumers. Several distributors have asked ACM to look into this.
ACM will investigate the new conditions. In 2012, ACM stated that Fox cannot discriminate when concluding contracts over the broadcasting rights for live Eredivisie matches. It remains to be seen whether Fox complies with that principle.
ACM is currently holding talks with all parties involved, and hopes that Fox will not let consumers suffer after the contract negotiations, and that it will continue to broadcast Eredivisie matches under the old conditions until new contracts have been concluded.