Bundesliga domestic rights drop in value as tender results announced

The German Football League (DFL) has announced that the revenue from its domestic broadcasters for the forthcoming 2021-25 rights cycle will be €1.1bn per season, slightly down from the €1.16bn per season it currently receives.

The key live rights packages of the top-tier Bundesliga have been shared between pay-television broadcaster Sky and OTT streaming service DAZN, as reported earlier today (Monday).

Other winners of the rights covering 2021-22 to 2024-25 were commercial broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1, which won free-to-air rights to nine Bundesliga matches, and sports broadcaster Sport1 which acquired non-exclusive digital rights to 33 matches per season.

Sky has also won rights to all matches from the second-tier 2. Bundesliga.

The DFL had previously managed to increase the value of its domestic rights by 85 per cent in the 2017-18 to 2020-21 tender. Domestic rights from 2013-14 to 2016-17, were worth €626.2m per season.

Sky has acquired rights to 200 live matches per season, including all matches on Saturdays and midweek on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. DAZN has acquired 106 live Bundesliga matches per season, including all matches on Fridays and Sundays.

Under the current domestic rights contracts, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, Sky broadcasts 266 exclusive live Bundesliga matches per season.

DAZN currently has a short-term deal with the DFL, which allowed it to broadcast 10 matches after the 2019-20 season restarted following its Covid-19-related suspension. It had to agree the deal with the DFL following the collapse of its sub-licensing deal with Discovery covering 2019-20 and 2020-21 after the latter responded to the Covid-19 suspension of the league by declining to pay any more fee instalments to the DFL, citing a ‘special termination’ clause.

The DFL sent out the 2021-25 tender document on March 17, and was given the green light to proceed with the sales process by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s federal cartel office, on March 20.

The league has expanded the scope of the licensed territories to also include Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and the South Tyrol province in Italy.

Online retail giant Amazon, which had long been tipped to launch a bid for rights, does not have any packages in the 2021-25 cycle.

DAZN inventory rises

The result means that DAZN has significantly increased the number of Bundesliga matches it broadcasts in Germany. The deal comes at a time when the streaming service’s appetite for sports rights has been questioned.

DAZN, with its sports-only offering and flexible rolling monthly subscriptions, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has had to delay the global launch of its boxing-focussed OTT service, and is, reportedly seeking investors to help shore up its finances.

Simon Denyer, chief executive officer at DAZN Group, has said that the deal is “a watershed moment in the growth and maturity of sport streaming services and the logical next step as we continue to invest in our most mature market and the future of sport.”

Other deals

For Sky, its acquisition of the bulk of the live rights was critical in its future sports offering having lost out to DAZN on the Champions League rights.

DFL agreed additional deals with public-service broadcaster ARD (highlights), sports broadcaster Sport1 (highlights), and a direct deal with DAZN (highlights clips).

The DFL has also awarded highlights and clips rights to Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga content, with the bulk going to public-service broadcaster ARD.

Audio rights, both broadcast and digital, have been awarded to ARD, and the digital-out-of-home package was awarded to Axel Springer.