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Live action returns to Sportdigital Fussball in K League deal

Sportdigital Fussball, the subscription broadcaster in German-speaking countries, has acquired rights to Korea’s K League as live football returns to the broadcaster’s schedule.

Sportdigital Fussball announced the agreement this morning, promoting itself as the “first broadcaster in the German-speaking region” to show live football again following the shutdown prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rights were acquired from Sportradar, the agency was last year appointed to sell the K League’s international rights from 2020 to 2024.

Sportdigital Fussball will show four matches per match week from the Korean top flight.

The coverage will begin on Friday as Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors face Suwon Samsung Bluewings in a match kicking off at 12pm (CET). A further three matches will be shown this weekend, including two on Saturday (at 9:30am and 12pm) and one on Sunday (at 9:30am).

Live coverage of the top leagues in the Czech Republic, Poland and Portugal is also expected to return on Sportdigital Fussball at the end of May.

The K League’s international rights have attracted increased attention this season, thanks to its status as one of the few professional sports leagues worldwide to be running live events. It was recently announced that the league had agreed deals in 10 overseas markets, with potentially more to come.

The Korea Professional Football League, the body that runs the league, said at the start of last week that Sportradar had agreed deals in markets including China, Hong Kong and Croatia, while there was interest from broadcasters in Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and the US. Rights deals were also agreed with digital platforms Dugout (in Singapore), 433 (in the Netherlands) and Copa90 (in the UK).

International feeds are supplied from the league’s new media centre, which opened in March. Among the league’s offerings to international broadcasters is 78 games per season with English subtitles.

South Korea has had greater success than most countries in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. A US rights deal was also secured this week between the KBO baseball league and ESPN.

The K League has also finalised its domestic broadcast deals and announced the details yesterday (Monday).