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DFL’s Seifert: Three pay-TV Bundesliga broadcasters would be excessive

Christian Seifert, chief executive of the Deutsche Fußball Liga, has suggested that Germany’s Bundesliga is wary of having too many domestic pay-television partners when it agrees its next cycle of domestic media- rights deals.

Speaking to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Seifert said: “If you need three subscriptions to fully consume the Bundesliga, that would, from our point of view, heavily strain the threshold of what is bearable.”

Seifert added that German fans have been “spoiled” in terms of the availability of Bundesliga coverage when compared to other top European leagues.

He stated: “For decades people got all the matches live from one operator and then virtually immediately served up once again on the public-service ‘Sportschau’ [highlights programme].

“Of course we know what we can expect of the viewers, and what not.”

The league is currently drafting the tender for domestic rights from 2021-22 to 2024-25 with the idea of going to market early next year.

Domestic Bundesliga pay-television rights for the current cycle, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, were initially acquired by Sky Deutschland and Discovery-owned Eurosport. Ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season, Discovery sublicensed all its rights to streaming service DAZN.

Currently, Sky broadcasts 266 exclusive live Bundesliga matches per season, while DAZN broadcasts 40. Public-service broadcaster ZDF also holds live Bundesliga rights, but to only three non-exclusive matches per season.

Including the additional deals with public-service broadcaster ARD (highlights), sports broadcaster Sport1 (highlights), and a direct deal with DAZN (highlights clips), the DFL brings in €1.16bn ($1.28bn) per season from its domestic media-rights deals in the 2017-21 cycle.

Both Sky and DAZN are thought to be interested in the domestic tender next year, however there could also be competition from telco Deutsche Telekom. In October, executive board member and Telekom Deutschland chief executive Dirk Wössner claimed in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the telco is interested in the rights in order to boost subscribers of the company’s OTT service Magenta TV.

Deutsche Telekom recently shocked the German market with its acquisition of exclusive rights to all matches from the 2024 Uefa European Championship.