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Swisscom denies allegations made by ComCo Secretariat regarding marketing of sports programmes

A draft decree issued today by the Secretariat of the Competition Commission requests that the commission impose a sanction of CHF 143 million on Swisscom due to alleged prohibited marketing of sports content via pay TV. Swisscom denies the allegations and firmly believes that it has acted lawfully in its marketing of sports content.
Berne, 23 July 2015

The request to the Competition Commission (ComCo) proposes sanctions in the amount of approximately CHF 143 million due to alleged illegal conduct in marketing sports content via pay TV. According to the ComCo Secretariat, Swisscom and its Teleclub occupy a dominant market position particularly in regard to broadcasting Swiss national football and ice hockey events and, where technically possible, must provide all television platforms in Switzerland with equivalent Teleclub sports programming under non-discriminatory conditions. Swisscom denies these allegations and regards the sanction as unjustified. Swisscom is in fact surprised by the content of the draft decree and the requested fine.

High investments in expanding sports broadcasting

Swisscom and the Cinetrade Group comply with the law in their marketing of sports programmes via pay TV. As in other countries, broadcasting rights for sports programmes are issued periodically as part of a competition in which cable providers, for example, also participate. Sports broadcasts were previously a neglected segment in Switzerland, and the high levels of investment that Swisscom and Cinetrade have dedicated to making them attractive for pay TV justify an expanded sports offering via the Swisscom TV platform. This is the only way in which the investments can be sufficiently protected. Since entering the TV business in 2006, Swisscom has opened up fierce competition in the Swiss television market and has gradually put together a comprehensive package for live broadcasts of football and ice hockey league matches. Thanks to this commitment from Swisscom and Cinetrade, sports fans today can benefit from a much wider selection of live broadcasts on both free TV and pay TV. For example, there are now four to six times more Swiss football matches available to watch live on free TV.

ComCo launched its investigation into the broadcasting of live sports on pay TV in April 2013. Swisscom will examine the current 170-page version of the draft decree in detail and issue a statement by the requested deadline. A definitive decree from ComCo can be contested by an objection with the Federal Administrative Court and ultimately with the Federal Court if necessary.

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