Shutting Down the Public Service Broadcasting Statutory Corporation TV (Ert): The Case of Greece

Ioannis Daras, AIPS Europe
Eleni Koudouna, Prifysgol Bangor University
John Douvis, University of Peloponnese
Marios Papaloukas, University of Peloponnese
Panagiotis Alexopoulos, University of Peloponnese

Ioannis Daras, Journalist, Attorney at Law, AIPS EUROPE President;

Dr Eleni Koudouna, MD, FRCA, PhD; Dr Panagiotis Alexopoulos, Assistant Professor at University of Peloponnese, special advisor for sports and betting related activities at OPAP S.A.;

Dr John Douvis, Associate Professor in Sport Marketing at University of the Peloponnese;

Dr Marios Papaloukas, Attorney at Law, Assistant Professor of Sports Law;

Our research addresses the case of shutting down the public service broadcasting statutory corporationTV (ERT) in Greece in June 2013. There are numerouslegal issues resulting from such actions, including the rights and the contracts that ERT had signed with different sports organizations. In additionto the legal issues, we will discuss the socio-economicimpactson public broadcasting industryand internationalconflict of interest due ERT shutdown.

Extended Proposal

Closing down down the public service broadcasting statutory corporation TV (ERT) in Greece in June 2013 was a shocking phenomenon for the international broadcasting and journalism society from a media as well as from a financial point of view. The shut down of ERT, which was a Ltd. company, was followed by the constitution of a temporary organization for a period of 6 months. Finally, a new public service broadcasting statutory corporation TV channel (NERIT) was created, that with a new legislative directive was allowed to use the facilities and the equipment of ERT; however, the obligations and the dept from the old one were excluded. Nice decision, nice model!

Moreover, the implications and effects of this decision were not only in relation with internal matters. A series of international conflicts of interest have been arisen, as there were a lot of contracts signed by ERT that needed to be honoured in one way or another. Services including live productions, sports events such as European Champions League (Football) and the Football World Cup of 2014.

Sports broadcasting is among the most popular of television programmes. The viewers watching such programmes are usually the ones with the highest purchase capacity, therefore the audience is of particular interest to advertisers, as it is considered a very special audience not easily attracted by other programmes. As a result, the competition on advertising spots during these programmes as well as on acquiring TV broadcasting rights to sports events is much higher.

However Sports television broadcasting is of a very individual nature in comparison with the broadcast of other events. In addition to that it is a common practice that sports broadcasting rights are offered for sale by each sport federation as a package. In this way the clubs do not compete with each other in order to sell this product and the competition between possible purchasers of these rights is correspondingly restrained.

It is the first time in the history of European television broadcasting rights, a contract was likely to snap in the air due to the padlock on a public broadcasting organisation. UEFA (rightsholder of Champions Leagues) and FIFA (rightsholder of the World Cup), felt very unsafe when they were informed that ERT was being closed down , which had paid for the rights to broadcast those two sports events.

The representatives of UEFA and FIFA, including members of the legal service of both Associations, have expressed their concern about the situation that was developed after these events in ERT. Both organizations were doubting that ERT would fulfill the contract, in terms of the total money that should be paid to them and the display of their sponsors.

The purpose of the contacts was to determine whether and when public TV would transmit again in Greece and they have not ruled out termination and renegotiation of rights by UEFA and by FIFA. According to the legal circles, UEFA and FIFA would require the full amount arising from the contract. Finally decision was made to renew their contracts with the new company/organization NERIT which replaced ERT but these raises issues among other competing TV channels so it is a decision that will be discussed for quite some time and needs further analysis to see how it was reached.

To that end our research is coming to shed some light on the origins of the decision as well as the profound consequences of it. The importance and the value of both sports events is very significant and correlated to media and especially television broadcasting.

As Jacques Marchand points out in his work Responsables (i), "the sporting press is sport¢s conscience". Sporting exploits only exist insofar as they are relayed by the media. In the ancient world, poets made champions. In the course of modern history, journalists have reinvented sport; it is them who have created its competitions, football included.

Relative Literature

Dimitrios P. Panagiotopoulos, Zizi Kourogeni (1998), "European legislation and exclusive television broadcasting of sports games", in: 5th IASL Congress Proceedings, Nafplio July 10-12. 1997, ELLIN: Athens, pp. 223 - 230.

(i): RESPONSABLES, Déontologie pratique et vécue du journalisme de sport (Responsible: The Practical Ethics of Sports Journalism) (Editions Atlantica).

Marios Papaloukas. "Competition Rules and Sports Broadcasting Rights in Europe" International Sports Law Journal 2010.3/4/ (2010): 81-83. Media Rights, Terms and Conditions


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Updated 03/19/2014