Deutsche Telekom confirms bid for Bundesliga rights

The Deutsche Telekom telecommunications company has submitted a bid for the live pay-television rights for Bundesliga 1 and 2, the top two divisions of club football in Germany, in the new cycle covering four seasons, from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

Deutsche Telekom had made a bid for the Bundesliga satellite, cable, IPTV and mobile rights as a direct challenge to pay-television operator Sky Deutschland, the incumbent pay-television rights-holder in a four-year deal, from 2009-10 to 2012-13, according to Reuters. Telekom, which holds live IPTV rights, is said to be keen to open up new revenue streams as its core telephone business is under pressure.

The Deutsche Fussball Liga, the German football league, approved 15 bidders for the 19 packages of rights covering the next cycle, but according to the Handelsblatt newspaper, only 12 companies had submitted offers by yesterday, April 2, the deadline for the first round of bids.

Sky Deutschland, cable-television operators Unity Media and Kabel Deutschland, and commercial broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 and were among the other bidders.

In February, Sky chief executive Brian Sullivan said that his company was willing to discuss partnerships with telcos for the Bundesliga rights. His comments were widely interpreted as an attempt to avoid a costly bidding war with Telekom for the rights.

The league hopes to complete the rights sales process by May.