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ITV, Sky, BT among top broadcasters facing sports antitrust probe

Britain’s competition watchdog opened a probe into how some of the nation’s top sports TV broadcasters and production firms including Sky UK Ltd. and BT Group Plc may have colluded to buy freelance services.

The Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement on Wednesday it “has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law” by firms also including IMG Media Ltd. and ITV Plc. Britain’s competition watchdog opened a probe into how some of the nation’s top sports TV broadcasters and production firms including Sky UK Ltd. and BT Group Plc may have colluded to buy freelance services.

The Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement on Wednesday it “has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law” by firms also including IMG Media Ltd. and ITV Plc.

The investigation looks into the purchase of freelance services which support the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK, the CMA said.

BT Group said in a statement it’s reviewing the details of the probe but will be “co-operating fully with the CMA.”

“It is clear that CMA’s investigation is focused very specifically on the purchase of freelance services and not any other aspects of the BT Sport or wider BT Group business,” the company said.

IMG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. ITV said in an emailed statement that it’s committed to complying with competition law and is cooperating with the CMA. Sky also said it’s cooperating fully with the authority. Bloomberg

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