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Head of the culture, media and sport select committee: Premier League rights 'out of control'

Monday, February 9th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The amount of money bid for Premier League broadcast rights is “out of control” and is not helping the game, the head of the culture, media and sport select committee has said.

John Whittingdale, who chairs the influential parliamentary committee of MPs, said the amounts being bid for TV rights are “eye-watering”.

His comments came as Virgin Media called for Ofcom to halt the current auction, which is for the UK rights to broadcast live top-flight matches from 2016.

Ofcom carried out an investigation into Virgin’s claims that the process breached competition law, but has since decided not to put the auction on hold.

Speaking exclusively to Cable.co.uk, Mr Whittingdale said: “In sport of course the amounts of money that are bid for particular Premier League rights are eye watering amounts.

“And actually I think that is out of control, and I don't actually think it's been particularly good for the game because it's all flowing straight into players' salaries etc.”

Earlier this month research analyst Glenn Hower, from consulting firm Parks Associates, told Cable.co.uk that costs of broadcasting rights for live sports will continue to rise as competition for them increases.

But Mr Whittingdale said he believed having more than one provider of live sports content benefits the consumer.

“I think it's a good thing that there is more than one provider now,” he added.

“BT's entry into that market has completely changed things.

“And then in terms of the number of different streaming services and video content services, I think that has to be good for the consumer.”

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