Germany’s federal cartel office give go-ahead on domestic Bundesliga tender

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s federal cartel office, has given the all clear for the German Football League (DFL) to launch its invitation to tender for domestic Bundesliga rights.

The DFL already sent out the bidding documents to approved companies earlier this week, despite awaiting final clearance. Rights for four seasons, from 2021-22 to 2024-25, are being tendered.

The Bundeskartellamt has indicated that its aim is to promote competition between both traditional and OTT streaming platforms in the tender. It said: “It was important to us that not one bidder alone can exclusively acquire all live rights, who then faces the viewer as a monopolist.”

The proposed tender specifies a “no exclusive owner rule”. This means that if a single pay-television buyer acquires rights to packages A to D (see below), it would have to share rights to two packages with an internet and mobile provider on a co-exclusive basis.

Though the league is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the DFL plans to press ahead with the tender. However, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert has said that the issue of sticking to its initial target – of completing the auction in May – was “not the most pressing”.

Revenues from the DFL’s current domestic broadcasting agreements total €1.16bn ($1.28bn) per season. Pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland broadcasts 266 exclusive live Bundesliga matches per season, while subscription streaming service DAZN broadcasts 40 matches.

Discovery-owned Eurosport initially acquired a package of rights in the last tender but has since sublicensed them to DAZN. Sky also holds rights to all 306 2. Bundesliga matches per season.

Live packages on offer in the new tender are:

  • A – Pay-television rights to 166 Bundesliga matches (35 Konferezen) on Saturday 3:30pm, Tuesday/Wednesday 8:30pm
  • B – Pay-television rights to 170 individual Bundesliga matches on Saturday 3:30pm, Tuesday/Wednesday 6:30pm, 8:30pm (plus relegation playoff matches)
  • C – Pay-television rights to 33 Bundesliga matches on Saturday 6:30pm (plus DFL Super Cup)
  • D – Pay-television rights to 106 Bundesliga matches on Friday 8:30pm, Sunday 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm
  • E – Free-to-air rights to nine matches comprised of Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga relegation playoffs, Super Cup and regular-season matches
  • F – Pay-television rights to 275 2. Bundesliga matches (98 Konferezen) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (plus relegation playoff matches)
  • G – Pay-television or free-to-air rights to 33 Bundesliga matches on Saturday 8:30pm