Jamaica court orders SportsMax to give E-Networks FIFA World Cup feed

A Jamaican court has ordered International Media Content Limited (IMCL), the parent company of regional sports broadcaster SportsMax, to fulfill an agreement it made with local cable provider E-Networks for the right to broadcast the FIFA World Cup now underway in Russia. E-Networks moved to the Supreme Court in Jamaica to preserve the agreement, which it had advertised here for the broadcast of the World Cup.

According to an order issued on Thursday by Jamaica’s Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and seen by Stabroek News, IMCL is restrained for 28 days from terminating the Carriage Agreement that had been entered on May 15th, 2017 and the addendum sub licence and service agreement of May 31st, 2018, under which it granted E-Networks “the exclusive Pay-TV (Cable Network) right to broadcast SportsMax World Cup Channel for the period 1st June, 2018 to 31st July, 2018.”

The court further ordered that IMCL immediately commence provision of the feed to the SportsMax World Cup Channel to E-Networks for 28 days from June 14th.

In a brief statement issued yesterday, E-Networks said the rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup are held by DIRECTV, which issued a memorandum advising that only IMCL, in addition to it, could grant exclusive rights to authorise cable broadcasts of the World Cup in Guyana. “E-Networks paid [IMCL] substantial sums to secure the exclusive cable broadcast rights of the World Cup from [IMCL], only to be told a few days before the scheduled broadcast that [IMCL] may no longer honour its agreement with E-Networks. After it became apparent that [IMCL] would not give E-Networks access to the World Cup feed, E-Networks immediately sought intervention of the court to prevent [IMCL] from breaching its contracts, resulting in the Court’s order,” it explained.

An inter-partes hearing of the matter is fixed for June 20th at the Jamaica court. The order notes that if IMCL fails to comply with the terms of the order, it will be in contempt of court, for which its President and Chief Executive Officer Oliver McIntosh would be liable to either imprisonment or the confiscation of his assets.

The E-Networks application in Kingston was a `Without Notice Application’ for an interim injunction and it was filed by attorneys from the Livingston, Alexander and Levy law firm.

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