According to Sweden’s three main independent sports channels, Viasat, Canal Digital and CANAL+, a spring swoop on 145 pubs and bars across the country turned up 59 which were screening sporting events without permission.
“Of around 13,000 pubs in Sweden only a couple of hundred have a licence to show TV sport,” said Ulrik Bengtsson, the managing director of Viasat.
“We have therefore suspected that many pubs are cheating by showing sport – the raids this spring have confirmed that. It is important, not least out of consideration to out paying customers, that we continue these raids and stop illegal screenings.”
The worst offenders were in Stockholm’s Södermalm area, where 72% of bars visited were showing sport without a licence.
Bert Willborg, head of information at Viasat, told The Local that none of the bars caught would be prosecuted.
“Some simply don’t understand the rules,” he said. “Each will receive a letter which will say what they were showing when we visited, what day that was and how many people. Then we will ask for payment and set up a regular agreement.”
The price of a licence to screen sports events ranges from 1,000 kronor a month to around 6,000 kronor a month depending on the number of seats in the pub or restaurant.
“We can usually come to a quick solution – these places understand the commercial value of showing TV sport,” said Willborg.