Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events: The Voluntary Code of Conduct for Rights Owners

While every sports governing body wants to maximise the audience for major events, they also recognise that sports broadcasting rights are their main source of commercial revenue.

Without a competitive marketplace for sports broadcasting rights governing bodies cannot secure the best financial return for their sport. This in turn, undermines investment in grassroots development. In this context, sports governing bodies are best placed to strike the right balance between audience and revenue.

The Voluntary Code of Conduct for Rights Owners outlines the ongoing commitment of the UK’s leading sports bodies to two general principles:

• Accessibility – Ensuring that, wherever possible, all major events under their control receive free-to-air television coverage in the UK (live, recorded or highlights);
• Reinvestment – Ensuring a minimum of thirty per cent of their net UK broadcasting revenue is put back into grassroots development within their sport.

You can download a copy of the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Rights Owners here.

The six current, full signatories to the Code are: the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association/All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (joint), the R&A, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union. In addition, three bodies are signatories to the Accessibility Principle: the Premier League, the European Tour and UK Athletics.

Examples of how some Code signatories have been investing to support grassroots development of their respective sports include:


Development of grassroots football facilities-


ECB emergency flood scheme-

Capital reinvestment- Bradford Park Avenue-


Redeveloping urban courts (p16)- 


CBRE All Schools Programme:
Better Facilities:


Sky Try programme in Hull-

Sky Try 9's festival in Leeds-


Golf Course Scholarship Programme:

Compliance with the Code is monitored by the Sports Broadcast Monitoring Committee, to which the Alliance acts as secretariat. The Committee is chaired by Sir David Scott CBE and comprises a range of representatives from Code signatories alongside independent members with commercial, legal and broadcasting expertise. The full membership of the Committee is listed below:

Independent Chair
• Sir David Scott CBE

Signatory Representatives
• Robert Sullivan (FA)
• Fredrik Lindgren (European Tour)
• David Mahoney (ECB)
• William Bush (Premier League)

Independent Members
• Neil Austin
• Karen Earl
• Kate Gallafent QC
• Ian Mill QC
• Alex Russell

Additional Members
• Emma Boggis (Sport and Recreation Alliance)
• Simon Morton (UK Sport)