Ofcom slams Sky over EA branding

Media regulator Ofcom has ruled that Sky Sports’ overt use of the EA Sports logo during a Premier League broadcast on September 11th 2010 was not editorially justified, though it has fallen short of taking action against the satellite channel.

Following the clash between Everton and Manchester United there was a complaint about Sky’s "blatant", "unnecessary" and "irrelevant" use of the EA Sports logo during match fact graphics. In total the logo appeared 14 times.

EA Sports signed as the Premier League’s technology partner back in July 2010.

However, Sky Sports has since confirmed that the use of the EA branding "was not linked to any programme sponsorship arrangements it had entered into with EA", according to Media Week.

Instead, the channel claimed that it understood that it was obliged to use the logo as part of EA’s agreement with the Premier League.

It argued that "no specific product or service was mentioned and that no sales messages were present as part of the EA Sports logos" but eventually conceded that "on this occasion, the application of the EA on-screen credit should have been subject to greater editorial judgement given the high-scoring nature of this particular game, which meant the credit was displayed on a higher than normal number of occasions".

In Sky’s defence, Ofcom added that viewers of sports programming are more comfortable with on-screen branding than viewers of other TV genres and that broadcasters are obliged to support companies who provide the core technology to facilitate programs.

However, in this instance it argued that EA Sports was not actually providing a technical service, therefore eliminating any arguments about editorial justification for the use of the logo. Sky was found to have breached rule 10.3 of the Broadcast Code, but no further action will be taken.

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