KF 15 out of Bundesliga race as league channel plan founders

KF 15, the media company established by late German media mogul Leo Kirch, has pulled out of the tender for the domestic rights for the football Bundesliga because of a lack of interest in the league channel the company was planning to launch.

The company would have launched a channel to cover matches from Bundesliga 1 and 2 – the top two tiers of the German league – if it had won the rights, according to the Handelsblatt newspaper.

“In today’s market, cable and telecommunications companies are not showing sufficient willingness to pay for an independent league channel,” KF 15 managing partner Dieter Hahn said. “That is why we have decided against a bid for the media rights for the Bundesliga.”

Hahn said that KF 15 would focus its future sports-related investments in the Constantin Medien media company, which owns the Team Marketing agency and German sports broadcaster Sport1. KF 15 has an 18.7 per cent shareholding in Constantin Medien. “Constantin Medien has a very large sports portfolio, and we see many opportunities to strengthen this further,” Hahn said.

Fifteen companies were approved by the Deutsche Fussball Liga, the German football league, to enter the tender for the new cycle of rights, covering the four years from 2013-14 to 2016-17, but only 12 submitted offers by Monday, April 2, the deadline for the first round of bids.

Kirch’s Sirius Sports Management agency was initially awarded the rights for the Bundesliga in the last cycle, beginning in 2009-10, only for the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s cartel office, to block the agreement.