German watchdog to enforce ‘no single buyer’ rule for Bundesliga rights – report

The German Football League (DFL) will not be permitted to sell exclusive rights for live television broadcasts of the Bundesliga after the country’s competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, insisted on a ‘no single buyer’ rule for the impending rights auction to the top division of domestic football, according to Reuters.

The news agency, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter, said the DFL voiced its opposition to the rule precluding any buyer from securing all the television rights, but the cartel office stood firm in an effort to foster competition.

The next four-season cycle of rights to the top division of German football, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, are set to go to market with DFL chief executive Christian Seifert stating last week that he expects contracts to be awarded before the Uefa Euro 2016 national team tournament, which begins in France on June 10.

The move to impose a no single buyer rule would shake up the process, with pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland the dominant rights-holder in the current cycle.

In April 2012, Sky held off competition from telco Deutsche Telekom to acquire the key pay-television and mobile rights packages to the Bundesliga from 2013-14 to 2016-17. Sky paid €2.5bn ($2.7bn) to acquire all live pay-television rights packages, including the IPTV rights which Telekom held in the previous cycle. Sky also acquired the mobile rights which Telekom had held.