Sky Deutschland heads into Bundesliga tender with new rights chief

German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland has appointed Hans Gabbe to the position of senior vice-president of sports rights ahead of the impending domestic tender process for the Bundesliga, the top division of German football.

Currently director of sports rights, the 41-year-old lawyer replaces Volker Winter, who has left the company by mutual consent, according to Sky. Gabbe will report to Holger Enßlin, managing director of legal, regulatory and distribution.

In his new role, Gabbe will be responsible for all issues relating to sports rights acquisitions including the Bundesliga rights tender as well as the new business unit of sports commercialisation.

The German Football League (DFL) is on the cusp of selling the next four-season cycle of Bundesliga rights, from 2017-18 to 2020-21. DFL chief executive Christian Seifert said last month that he expects contracts to be awarded before the Uefa Euro 2016 national team tournament, which begins in France on June 10.

In April 2012, Sky held off competition from telco Deutsche Telekom to acquire the key pay-television and mobile rights packages to the Bundesliga from 2013-14 to 2016-17. Sky paid €2.5bn ($2.7bn) to acquire all live pay-television rights packages, including the IPTV and mobile rights which Telekom had held in the previous cycle.

Enßlin said: “Hans Gabbe has an excellent network to all major licensors and agencies in the sports rights business. He has played a key role in negotiating and acquiring major broadcasting rights for Sky in recent years and is also the right person to successfully shape the forthcoming allocation process for the Bundesliga rights.”