OneFootball and Sportfive team up on Bundesliga in Brazil, Uefa club qualifiers

OneFootball, the Germany-based digital platform, has teamed up with the Sportfive agency to broadcast Bundesliga matches free of charge via its app in Brazil.

Announcing an “innovative broadcasting model” agreed with Bundesliga International, the league’s international commercial rights arm, OneFootball said today (Wednesday) that it would broadcast all matches from the top-tier Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga for the next three seasons (2020-21 to 2022-23).

The sales of advertising inventory around the Bundesliga coverage will be jointly managed by Sportfive and OneFootball.

The two parties said: “After future-driven discussions on how best to engage the Brazilian audience, OneFootball and Sportfive, as a global sports business agency and comprehensive rights partner of the DFL [German Football League], have joined forces to create the overall framework for this distribution partnership.”

The deal has been struck shortly before the start of the 2020-21 season on Friday and comes after Bundesliga International had held rights negotiations with broadcasters in Brazil in recent months.

Bundesliga International has retained the option to sell rights to one fixture per match day to a linear broadcaster in Brazil.

Commercial free-to-air broadcaster Band had been in negotiations to acquire the Bundesliga rights, with pay-television broadcaster ESPN also said to have been interested.

Fox Sports, which has merged with ESPN in Brazil, held the Bundesliga rights in Brazil from 2015-16 to 2019-20 as part of an 80-territory deal across various international territories.

OneFootball will also show the German Supercup and the end-of-season promotion and relegation play-offs.

Additionally, the Berlin-based company has reached a wider agreement with Sportfive, signing a multi-year deal to show free coverage of selected Uefa Champions League and Europa League qualifying matches to which the agency holds the international distribution rights.

The coverage will be available in “selected” markets globally and will be sponsored by presenting partner VBET, the online sportsbook and casino platform.

OneFootball’s offering began last night with coverage of the Dynamo Kiev-AZ Alkmaar and Gent-Rapid Vienna Champions League third qualifying-round matches.

Europa League second qualifying-round ties to be shown tomorrow (Thursday) include VfL Wolsfburg’s match in Albania against Kukësi, Copenhagen’s trip to IFK Göteborg and Basel’s away match against Croatian side Osijek.

Commenting on the Bundesliga rights tie-up, Bundesliga International chief executive Robert Klein said: “The Bundesliga has long been associated with driving innovation in football and this agreement with OneFootball, in collaboration with Sportfive reiterates our commitment to utilizing technology for the good of fans globally. There is a rich history which ties together German and Brazilian football and, through this partnership, we can ensure that Bundesliga remains an important part of the footballing culture.”

Nikolaus von Doetinchem, president of media at Sportfive, added: “Within this ever-changing media landscape and evolving content consumption behaviours, we are proud of this contemporary and innovative broadcasting model. Our hereby implemented ‘digital-first approach’ in the end leads to extensive value for all involved stakeholders and creates an enormous platform, suited for the attractiveness, power and international reach of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.”

Lucas von Cranach, OneFootball’s chief executive and founder, remarked: “We continue to democratise football. Bringing freely available matches from one of the biggest leagues in the world to Brazil, where football is the most popular sport, is really exciting for us. By energizing the traditional sports media landscape and bringing the action directly to Brazilian fans, for free and easily available at their fingertips, we’re another step closer to becoming the ultimate football destination for a new generation.”

OneFootball recently renewed its distribution agreement with German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland and will continue to offer Sky’s live German football coverage to its users on a pay-per-view basis.

Having initially made its name as a provider of football news, data and statistics, OneFootball branched out into the live streaming sector. It has also signed various pay-per-view distribution agreements with other broadcasters and football rights-holders, including deals for the Polish Cup, with Sportdigital Fussball and Eleven Sports.