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Britain plans to protect free online coverage of major sporting events

By November 14, 2022Sports events

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Britain will consider whether to protect the digital rights to major sporting events to ensure they are accessible via free-to-air broadcasters, the government announced on Monday.

Events such as the Olympics, the FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cup and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships have full protected live coverage in Britain, meaning they must be available to broadcasters which the public can freely access.

However, the rules currently focus on traditional TV broadcasting, which means access to digital viewing of events is not protected in the same way.

The government is currently reviewing these rules to see if these protections should be extended to the digital sphere.

“As viewing habits evolve online, it’s only right that we re-examine our rules and consider whether any updates are needed to ensure our brilliant public service broadcasters can continue to bring major events to the public at no cost. extra,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez.

The review begins as the England and Wales teams prepare for the men’s World Cup, which will be shown on the BBC and ITV. (ITV.L). Although ITV is a commercial company, it fulfills public service obligations under its broadcast licence.

In explaining the review, the government gave the example of an Olympic 100m final, which could be shown live on TV in the middle of the night on the BBC, but may not be available to large audiences. if broadcast and catch-up rights were sold to another broadcaster who kept them behind a paywall.

The BBC, which broadcasts the Olympics and the World Cup, has offered digital broadcasting and catch-up availability for the tournament coverage it broadcasts.

The government does not intend to review the protected events on the list itself.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Jan Harvey

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