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Free report | German media-rights market has grown by 33 per cent since 2014

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the media-rights landscape in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the media-rights landscape in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.

German media-rights growth

According to the 2018 SportBusiness Consulting Global Report, media-rights in Germany generated $2.1bn (€1.8bn) in 2018, accounting for 4.3 per cent of the global market share. Since 2014 the German media-rights market has grown by 33 per cent and is predicted to continue to grow by 14.4 per cent to $2.4bn by 2021. For a full breakdown of the market value and predictions in each year from 2014 to 2021, see the graph below.

The Bundesliga, Germany’s top-tier football league, dominates the German media-rights landscape with a 49.6 per cent market share.

The launch of OTT service DAZN in August 2016 has made the market significantly more competitive, with pay-television broadcaster Sky facing far stronger competition for rights.

Increased competition is also due to the partnership between international sports broadcaster Eurosport and free-to-air broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1. The two are currently looking for key rights in order to launch a joint OTT platform in Germany.

Top properties

The Bundesliga is by far the most valuable property in Germany. The value of its domestic rights in the current four-year cycle, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, increased by about 85 per cent on the previous four-season cycle, from 2013-14 to 2016-17. Intense competition for packages led to aggressive bidding by broadcasters.

The introduction of a no-single-buyer rule by the Bundeskartellamt, the German competition authority, meant no single broadcaster could acquire live rights to all matches in the new cycle. The rights packages were sold sequentially and losing bidders were not told who had won, creating a competitive tension between bidders.

The competition for rights to football in recent years has been intense. Rights to the Champions League, Uefa’s top-tier club competition, increased by about 48 per cent, while the Europa League, Europe’s secondary club competition grew by about 24 per cent.

Not all properties increased in value, however. The value of rights to the Formula One motor racing series decreased by about 21 per cent in the latest rights cycle – from 2018 to 2020. This was due to pay-television rights being withheld by F1 in preparation for the launch of their own OTT platform.

In the new cycle, F1 sold exclusive free-to-air rights to commercial broadcaster RTL, from 2018 to 2020. The was no rival competition for the free-to-air rights and therefore the value decreased slightly on the previous two-year deal with RTL.

Previously pay-television rights were sold to Sky, in a two-year deal. from 2016 to 2017.

DAZN takeover

DAZN first made their mark on the German market by acquiring rights to a series of European football leagues, including; Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s LaLiga and France’s Ligue 1. Each deal ran for three seasons, from 2015-16 to 2017-18. As DAZN had yet to launch, it sublicensed rights to all three in 2015-16.

In 2016, DAZN acquired German Bundesliga highlights clips, from 2017-18 to 2020-21. It paid about 263.3 per cent more than the digital publisher, Axel Springer paid, from 2013-14 to 2016-17, for the same set of rights.

In December 2015, DAZN dislodged Sky as the English Premier League’s broadcast partner in Germany. DAZN paid an increase of about 270 per cent to claim the rights. However, last year, Sky won the rights back and will pay an increase of about 70 per cent from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Both deals covered Austria and Switzerland.

Last year, DAZN renewed its rights to LaLiga in a new three-season deal, from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Despite a lack of competition, DAZN offered an increase of about 30 per cent on its previous deal, as it was keen to maintain a strong relationship with LaLiga and its international media-rights advisor, the Mediapro agency.

DAZN’s acquisition of Uefa Europa League pay-television rights, in a deal from 2018-19 to 2020-21, presented little uplift for the governing body: about 11 per cent. This was thought to be because Sky were happy to drop Europa League rights as it felt its recently-acquired Champions League rights were enough.

Click on each property logo to filter historical media-rights value information.

Broadcasters

Football’s dominance in Germany is highlighted again when looking at the most expensive properties in each German broadcasters’ portfolio.

Pay television broadcaster Sky Deutschland’s expenditure on the Bundesliga dwarfs the cost of other properties in the country, showing the importance to Sky of having the competition in its stable.

It has recently renewed rights to tennis grand slam Wimbledon and the ATP Tour. Its new four-year deal for ATP rights, from 2020 to 2023, is about a 200-per-cent increase on its current deal from 2017 to 2019. The increase was due to intense competition for year-round content and interest in Germany’s rising star Alexander Zverev and Austria’s Dominic Thiem.

Germany has a strong tradition of free-to-air sports broadcasting. Public-service broadcasters ARD and ZDF share rights to a host of football properties. As well as football, the broadcasters also own rights to the Olympic games in a four-Games deal, covering the winter Games in 2018 and 2022 and the summer Games in 2020 and 2024. It also holds rights to International Biathlon Union events, from 2018 to 2022.

Click on the broadcaster logos to see selected media-rights details.

Austria & Switzerland

In Switzerland the domestic hockey competition, the Swiss Hockey League, is the most valuable individual property. Telco UPC and Swiss public-service broadcaster SRG both agreed to deals with the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation, about a 153-per-cent increase in the value of the federation’s previous five-season deal.

In Austria, the top-tier domestic football league, the Austrian Bundesliga is the most valuable property in the country. Last year, the Austrian Bundesliga sold its global rights to Sky Deutschland in an eight-year deal, from 2018-19 to 2025-2026. This was the biggest media-rights deal in the country’s history.

The majority of the value of the Austrian Bundesliga lay in its domestic rights. Previously, the rights were held by Sky and public-service broadcaster ORF, from 2013-14 to 2017-18.

Click the country icon in the map to see selected media-rights deals in Austria and Switzerland.

Most recent

Premier League club Liverpool’s decision to launch ‘paid-for’ content options on global video-sharing platform YouTube is a taster of how the platform will develop its sports-broadcasting partnerships.

TF1 and M6’s joint acquisition of Euro 2020 free-to-air rights was struck at a similar per-match fee as the one they paid for the last comparable edition of the tournament, in 2012.

There are two truisms in the sale of sports media rights which at first glance appear difficult to reconcile. One is that every market has a unique set of characteristics and the value earned is contingent upon those characteristics at the moment the rights are sold. The other is that the early deals in a market-by-market sales cycle create a psychological benchmark which affects how sales in the following markets play out.

The International Olympic Committee extended a long run of media-rights revenue growth in Japan in its latest deal with the market’s free-to-air broadcaster consortium for 2026 to 2032, when the special case of the large Tokyo 2020 sales cycle is disregarded.