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Territorial Exclusivity

It was explained in the previous section that broadcasting markets are typically defined as national in consequence of patterns of regulatory control, language, and culture. Selling patterns therefore commonly coincide with national frontiers. The Block Exemption Regulation on Vertical Restraints, Regulation 330/2010/24 does not rule out sales into particular territories nor does it exclude action to protect the rights held for a particular territory from cross-border competition, but it excludes, as EU law generally excludes, an attempt to achieve absolute territorial protection. The thematic tension is between the promise of the EU’s border-free internal market and the commercial value of treating markets as severable along national lines.

EU law’s brutal intolerance of absolute territorial protection was confirmed in a sports-specific context in the case commonly known as Karen Murphy—though in full it is Football Association Premier League Ltd, NetMed Hellas SA, Multichoice

Hellas SA v QC Leisure, David Richardson, AVStation plc, Malcolm Chamberlain, Michael Madden, SR Leisure Ltd, Philip George Charles Houghton, Derek Owen; and Karen Murphy v Media Protection Services Ltd.m This ruling counts as a vivid demonstration of the compelling combined power of sport, money, and television.

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