Sky Deutschland secures live Bundesliga rights

Bundesliga logoThe German pay-TV platform Sky Deutschland has closed an agreement with the German Football League (DFL) over the rights to Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league for the next five years, writes Birgit Heidsiek. Within this deal Sky Deutschland has the exclusive pay-TV rights for all live Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga matches for the seasons 2013/14 through 2016/17. The new contract covers the rights for all platforms, including those currently held across satellite, cable and web, and even adds IPTV and mobile. On average Sky will pay a license fee of €485.7 million per season.

Thanks to that agreement Sky customers will have full access to the 612 live matches per season for the next five years. “This new agreement means Sky will continue to offer all matches of the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga, the most exciting competitions in Europe, live and in HD,” stresses Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland. “In addition the extended rights provide business certainty for the next five years, and will open exciting new opportunities for growth and innovation. The DFL is an important partner for Sky and we are delighted to extend our long-standing relationship.”

With this coup, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Deutschland has knocked out its competitor Deutsche Telekom who also was bidding for the pay, web-TV and IPTV rights to the Germany’s Bundesliga games which are part of the new package. After the announcement that Sky Deutschland had won the auction its stock was traded up more than 25%. But later on when investors were speculating that a total of € 1.9 bn for the German rights Sky might be a too high licence fee, the stock lost much of its most recent gains and ended up with only eight% plus. Compared with the price Sky had paid for the German live soccer rights between 2009 and 2013, the sum has almost been doubled.

Besides Sky, the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF could also secure rights for a handful of live Bundesliga games as well as highlight packages for free-TV while the German media mogul Axel Springer acquired the rights for the web and mobile highlights of all Bundesliga games. The users of PCs, tabloids or smartphones will be able to watch online via streaming or App six minute long summaries. The highlights of the soccer matches on Friday and Sunday will be available already one hour after the final whistle. This sport rights deal is also an important step in Springer’s strategy to give the internet business a top priority.

At the end of the day the real winner of this bidding game was the German Soccer League. The DFL will earn €628 million for a season over the four-year license period. That mean the new deal will flush a total of €2.5 billion into the coffers of the German Soccer League.




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