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The Broadcasting Act 1996 gives the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport the power to draw up a list of sporting events of “national interest”. This means the broadcast rights to these events must be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters on “fair and reasonable terms”. The aim is to make sure the events are made available to all television viewers.

The list consists of two groups:

  • Group A events – full live coverage must be offered. This group includes the FA Cup Final, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Women’s Football World Cup European Championships.
  • Group B events – these can have live coverage on subscription television provided that secondary coverage is offered to the free-to-air broadcasters. This group includes the Six Nations rugby union tournament, the Ryder Cup, and cricket test matches played in England.

Broadcasting White Paper (April 2022)

In its April 2022 Broadcasting White Paper (PDF), the Government said that, because of changing viewing habits (eg catch-up and on-demand viewing), it would review the listed events regime and whether its scope should be extended to include digital rights.

Documents to download

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