The German market is bracing itself for a new Bundesliga tender this summer, with media chatter at this year’s Spobis conference in Düsseldorf concentrated on the parties set to be involved.
The Deutsche Fußball Liga is currently assessing how best to package the rights and will likely go out to tender this summer with rights likely to be awarded around April next year.
Bundesliga rights in the current four-season cycle, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, are currently worth about €1.16bn ($1.33bn) per season, across six deals. The deals represented a growth of 85 per cent on the previous four-season cycle, from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
With the introduction of the no-single-buyer rule by the Bundeskartellamt, the German competition authority, live rights were split between pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland, sports broadcaster Eurosport, and public-service broadcaster ZDF. Highlights rights were acquired by public-service broadcaster ARD and sports broadcaster Sport1; and streaming service DAZN picked up clips rights.
Competition for rights is once again expected to be fierce, with many delegates at Spobis suggesting DAZN will be more aggressive in its pursuit of live rights.
The streaming service is a major talking point in the market as industry executives continue to speculate on what its future holds. The company is thought to be set to lose over $500m in 2019 but will look to further increase spending on media-rights. The expected sale of the Perform Content part of the business is one that SportBusiness Media will be following closely.
One certainty is that the number of subscribers to DAZN is still the market’s best-kept secret. Numbers ranging from 500,000 to 1.7 million were heard during the two-day conference, with most believing that a figure in the middle is the most likely.
DAZN recently lost out on rights to the English Premier League from 2019-20, with Sky acquiring exclusive rights in a new three-season deal. This was a blow to DAZN as it was one of its first acquisitions and a flagship property, however, how big this blow is was questioned by some due to its relatively low bid in comparison to Sky. It had already acquired rights to the Uefa Champions League in a sublicensing deal with rival Sky.
Along with rights to the Premier League, Sky has also been aggressive in the last six months in order to hold onto to its tennis and golf content. Several industry experts speculated whether this aggression was due to US telco Comcast’s recent acquisition of 61 per cent of Sky.
One unknown is how the new partnership between Discovery-owned Eurosport and commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 will play out. The two both have a stake in a new OTT platform – which is set to have a major rebrand in the next few months – that will exploit rights from both. How this will work in a competitive tender process is yet to be decided, however the two recently worked together in an unsuccessful bid for ATP rights.