Title: The institutional framework for doing sports business: principles of EU competition policy in sports markets

Authors: Oliver Budzinski

Addresses: University of Southern Denmark, Campus Esbjerg, Niels-Bohrs-Vej 9-10, DK-6700 Esbjerg, Denmark

Abstract: The paper aims to provide an analysis of the change in sports business environment that results from the 2007 overhaul of the competition rules and policy framework of the European Union. Nowadays, virtually all activities of sports associations that govern and organise a sports discipline are subject to antitrust rules. This includes genuine sporting rules that are essential for a league, championship or tournament as well as 'real' business or commercial activities like ticket selling or the marketing of broadcasting rights. Regulatory activities of sports associations comply with European competition rules if they pursuit a legitimate objective, their restrictive effects are inherent to that objective and proportionate to it. With respect to business activities, the focus of European competition policy is on centralised marketing arrangements bundling media rights. However, neither a blacklist of anticompetitive nor a whitelist of procompetitive sporting rules can be derived. Unfortunately, this leaves many aspects open.

Keywords: sports business; EU competition policy; sporting rules; centralised marketing; sports economics; European Union; antitrust rules; sport marketing; media rights; sports associations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2012.045485

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2012 Vol.11 No.1/2, pp.44 - 72

Received: 23 Dec 2010
Accepted: 02 Aug 2011

Published online: 31 Jul 2014 *

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