The Italian Competition Authority (the AGCM), on 22 July 2009, indicated that it will open an investigation into whether Lega Calcio (the Italian Football League), abused its dominant position in the centralised marketing of its rights relating to the preparation of “packets” of Serie A TV rights for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, respectively.
In the view of the AGCM, Lega Calcio's chosen method for making up the ‘packets’ could be in conflict with competition principles. For instance, the AGCM believe that the “packets”, as they are currently proposed, would seem to be tailor-made for the main pay-TV operators and do not, therefore, ensure a truly competitive procedure. This, in turn, hinders the entry and growth of other businesses in the sector.
Moreover, the AGCM believes that Lega Calcio seems to have preferred to limit competition among pay-TV operators with a view to ensuring its own expected revenues and avoiding the uncertainty that is linked to the results of open tendering. The implications of this lower level of competition among pay-TV operators may result, according to the AGCM, in a negative effect for consumers, who may be forced to pay higher prices for a product offering inferior levels of variety and quality.
On a different note, in relation to the procurement and competitive procedures that apply to the “packets” the AGCM also expressed concern. In the AGCM’s view, the “packets” (as currently defined by Lega Calcio) do not ensure absolutely fair, transparent and non-discriminatory conditions for those taking part in the competitive procedures and do not allow for participation by multiple operators within the different platforms.