Dutch regulator ends probe into Fox Sports Eredivisie

Dutch competition authority the Autoriteit Consument en Markt has dropped a preliminary investigation into the dedicated Eredivisie football channel operated by pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports Netherlands.

Fox Sports Eredivisie broadcasts games from the top division of Dutch football and cable operator Caiway had requested that the ACM look into whether changes of the terms of conditions for carriage of the channel violated the Dutch Competition Act.

However, the MediaMagazine.nl website said the ACM has now elected to drop any investigation into the complaint after ruling that there is insufficient evidence that customers are negatively impacted by the changes imposed by Fox.

The ruling comes after pay-television operator Ziggo this month said it was considering its options after losing a court case concerning the carriage of channels operated by Fox Sports Netherlands. An Amsterdam court ruled that Ziggo must strike new carriage deals with Fox following its merger with fellow pay-television operator UPC in 2015.

While Ziggo has a contract with Fox that runs until 2020, UPC’s agreement is due to expire on July 31. Ziggo had argued that a separate agreement for its customers that were previously with UPC was not necessary as the two operators are now one company. However, the court ruled that Ziggo must seek new deals.

Fox Sports holds broadcast rights for the Eredivisie in a 12-season deal running from 2013-14 to 2024-25. The 2017-18 Eredivisie season kicks off on August 5.