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 one of their main sources of commercial revenue. 

Without a competitive marketplace for sports broadcasting rights, governing bodies and event organisers cannot secure the best financial return. This in turn, undermines investment in the long-term development of the sport. 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 – Wherever possible, making all major events under their control available free-to-air (in live, recorded or highlights form);

Reinvestment – Putting a minimum of thirty per cent of their net UK broadcasting revenue back into the long-term development of their sport.

Download a copy of the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Rights Owners.

Voluntary Code of Conduct for Sports Right Owners

Compliance with the Code is monitored by the Sports Broadcast Monitoring Committee, to which the Alliance acts as secretariat. The Committee has an independent chair 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 

  • Jon Zeff

Signatory Representatives

  • James MacDougall (The FA) 
  • Hannah Murphy (ECB)
  • William Bush/Katie Nixon (Premier League)
  • Representative tbc (LTA)

Independent Members 

  • Kate Gallafent QC
  • Ian Mill QC
  • Nick Donald

Additional Members

  • Lisa Wainwright (Sport and Recreation Alliance) 
  • Simon Morton (UK Sport)

Following the most recent compliance review, the signatories assessed as compliant with both the accessibility and reinvestment principles are:

  • England and Wales Cricket Board
  • Lawn Tennis Association/All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (joint)
  • Rugby Football League
  • Rugby Football Union
  • The Football Association
  • The R&A

The signatories assessed as compliant with the accessibility principle are:

  • European Tour
  • Premier League
  • UK Athletics

Examples of how some Code signatories have invested to support the long-term development of their respective sports include:

ECB: Funding for the Defib Fund - the defibrillator scheme helps clubs with training, long-term maintenance & post-incident support

LTA: SERVES - an initiative taking tennis and its benefits right into the heart of disadvantaged communities

RFL: Sky Try - the biggest ever programme of Rugby League opportunities in primary and secondary schools. 

RFU: Inner Warrior - a scheme that aims to introduce more women and girls into rugby

The FA: Parklife Football Hubs - designed to improve poor football facilities

The R&A: The Golf Foundation - a charity that helps young people get into golf