Virtual Bundesliga secures free-to-air platform

German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has acquired rights for the Virtual Bundesliga, the esports football competition that is operated by the German Football League (DFL).

The rights will be exploited on the ProSiebenMaxx free-to-air channel.

The deal was brokered by the 7Sports agency, a subsidiary of ProSiebenSat.1, and will run for nine weeks from January 17.

Under the agreement, ProSiebenMaxx will show live coverage of a Virtual Bundesliga match at 8.15pm local time on Thursdays. The coverage will be followed by the Smackdown wrestling entertainment programme at 10.00pm.

Daniel Rosemann, the head of ProSiebenMaxx, said: “Esports excites our young male target group…and we will be showing matches in prime time.”

Sport1, the DFL’s most recent rights partner for the Virtual Bundesliga, plans to launch a 24-hour pay-television esports channel next month.

Most recent

Social media giant Facebook’s challenges around its Copa Libertadores coverage in Latin America have convinced it that non-exclusive rights models form “one of the best ways” of breaking into markets where entrenched viewing habits restrict the potential for exclusive rights to grow engagement with the platform.

The Football Association rejected a higher bid for domestic FA Cup rights for the 2021-25 cycle from incumbent pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in favour of commercial broadcaster ITV, SportBusiness Media understands, in a move that took the competition exclusively free to air in the UK.

Spanish football’s LaLiga extended its rights deal in China with Wuhan DDMC Culture in May without going to market, where it would have faced a tough task maintaining its income, SportBusiness Media understands. The Chinese rights market has cooled since the previous deal was agreed, and DDMC is thought to be paying the league a strong rights fee.

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.