Bundesliga domestic rights fees leap as Sky shuts out Telekom

The Deutsche Fussball Liga, the German football league, has secured a 52.5-per-cent increase in its domestic media rights fee income after pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland held off competition from rival Deutsche Telekom to acquire the key pay-television and mobile rights packages.

Sky has acquired all live pay-television rights packages, including the IPTV rights which Telekom has in the current cycle. Sky also acquired the mobile rights which Telekom has in the current cycle. Public-service broadcasters ARD and ZDF have renewed their highlights rights for the new cycle, and publisher Axel Springer has acquired internet clip rights. The deals cover the four seasons from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

The deals are worth €2.5 billion ($3.275 billion), or €628 million per year, up from €412 million per year in the current cycle, 2009-10 to 2012-13.

Sky will pay €485.7 million per season for the live rights to all Bundesliga 1 and 2 games. Its rights allow it to simultaneously show the games online and on mobile. The broadcaster pays about €250 million per season in the current cycle for the same rights, excluding the IPTV rights and the mobile rights.

Sky Deutschland chief executive Brian Sullivan said that the security provided by extending the broadcaster’s rights had opened up “new opportunities for growth and innovation.”

Deutsche Telekom’s bid to snatch the satellite and cable rights from Sky and retain its IPTV and mobile rights drove up the rights fees. League chief executive Christian Seifert said the result of the tender had “exceeded expectations.”

“Factoring-in the additional international revenues, the German professional game will be generating some €700 million annually from the central marketing of media rights in the years ahead,” Seifert said. “With that, the Bundesliga is consolidating its position as one of the world’s most profitably marketable leagues. The clubs will have more financial leeway than ever before. And it is to that backdrop that we would additionally like to thank our media partners for their confidence.”

League president Reinhard Rauball said: “This is a quantum leap. We considered three points: the interests of the clubs, the viewing habits of the fans and the wishes of the media. I think we succeeded.”

Public-service broadcaster ARD retained its rights to show free-to-air highlights from 6pm on Saturdays, ending speculation that the broadcaster’s coverage of the league in its long-running Sportschau programme could be scrapped. The tender had offered a second scenario for Saturday highlights, in which early-evening highlights would be shown on the internet only and free-to-air television highlights pushed back until 9.45pm.

ARD will be able to show its highlights online and via mobile simultaneously with its television coverage.

ARD’s rights include seven live games per year, including a fixture from the first round of the season, the first round after the winter break, and the Supercup – an annual match between the winners of the Bundesliga 1, the top-tier league, and the DFB-Pokal, the cup competition.

ARD’s sister public-service broadcaster ZDF renewed its rights for highlights in a later Saturday night slot.

German newspaper publisher Axel Springer made its first foray into Bundesliga coverage by acquiring rights for online highlights clips. The clips will be shown on the Bild newspaper website on a pay-per-view basis from an hour after the end of the game, before becoming free at midnight on the day of the game.

Sports broadcaster Sport1 retained rights for one live match each Monday evening from the Bundesliga 2, the league’s second tier, and highlights from the division on Fridays and Saturdays.