RTL ‘defeats’ finance firm associated with Sporttotal to retain Luxembourg football rights

Commercial broadcaster RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg is poised to retain rights to the Luxembourg National Division until 2023 after emerging victorious in a vote by the clubs this week.

The league’s incumbent broadcast rights-holder has been backed by clubs in a new deal that will allow RTL to stream all matches.

RTL is to cover the cost of installing automatic cameras at stadiums but will not pay a rights fee, according to Luxembourg’s Tageblatt newspaper. Clubs will have the opportunity to monetise the broadcasts if they find sponsors to run advertisements during the coverage.

The free-to-air commercial broadcaster, which is part of the pan-European RTL Group, faced competition for the rights from Fuchs Sports, an entity set up by wealth management company Fuchs Group, which has offices in Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland.

Fuchs Sports is said to have made a rival bid to stream the matches. However, Tun di Bari, president of FC Etzella, told Tageblatt that many questions about the proposal from Fuchs “remained unanswered”. Another club representative told the newspaper that “the decision was already made” before the clubs’ meeting on Monday evening.

The Fuchs Group last year began marketing and placing various external capital options for the financing of Sporttotal International, the international live streaming project of the Germany-based sports television production and marketing firm previously known as Wige Media.

It was announced last year that the international business of sporttotal.tv would be managed by a separate independent Luxembourg-based company (Sporttotal.tv International S.a.r.L., Luxemburg). The company was founded as joint venture with Sporttotal AG holding a 51-per-cent shareholding and Fuchs taking a 19.6-per-cent interest.

The new deal with RTL has yet to be signed by the Luxembourg Football League but is expected to be in place when the top division, known as the ‘BGL Ligue’, kicks off its 2020-21 season on 23 August.