Sports Broadcasting Regulation

December 2018

Changes have recently been made to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU (“AVMSD”) pursuant to Directive (EU) 2018/1808.


The AVMSD has two purposes:

  • To provide a set of common rules for the European TV market; and
  • To ensure the free movement of broadcasting services throughout the EU.

In Ireland the Broadcasting Act 2009 (the “2009 Act”) regulates the way in which major sporting events are broadcast. The 2009 Act, together with the AVMSD, empowers the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to designate events of interest to the general public in the EU or the Irish State as events of major importance to society, for which the right of a qualifying broadcaster to provide coverage on free television services should be provided in the public interest.


In order to keep the law current with technological advances, in 2016 the European Commission proposed a revised AVMSD with a new approach to online platforms disseminating audiovisual content. There are many other changes to the AVMSD, apart from the changes related to video-sharing platforms, including a revised definition of the Country of Origin Principle, and a requirement that Member States are now obliged to establish and maintain an up-to-date list of the video-sharing platform providers established or deemed to be established in their territory. These changes are part of the Digital Single Market strategy and are an attempt by the EU to keep abreast of technological changes in the broadcasting industry. With new streaming players becoming more aggressive in the area of exclusive sports broadcasting it will be interesting to see what impact this new directive will have.

Transition Period

Member states will have 21 months to transpose it into national legislation, with 19 September 2020 being the deadline.

For further information please get in touch with your usual Whitney Moore contact, David Pierse, Robert Carroll or any member of our Corporate team.