German cartel office orders Bundesliga to split rights tender

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL), Germany’s football league, has been told it must accept multiple domestic pay TV bids to the Bundesliga in the upcoming rights tender.

Germany’s federal cartel office, the Bundeskartellamt, has forced the league to change the terms of its tender in an effort to prevent one broadcaster or OTT provider from monopolising the competition.

Currently the pay TV rights are split between Sky Deutschland and DAZN, while pubcaster ZDF airs three non-exclusive games per season. The current model allows one broadcaster to exclusively acquire all four of the subscription packages on the condition that one of those is shared with a streaming provider. This ‘no single buyer’ rule was introduced for the 2017-21 cycle. It resulted in fans having to sign up for multiple services in order to watch all matches on offer and saw the Bundesliga’s domestic media rights revenues rise by 85%.

Now, the Bundeskartellamt is pushing for the award of two non-exclusive packages to be awarded and shared with an internet provider.

Speaking to local paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the body’s president, Andreas Mundt, said: “The DFL has to present a marketing model that enables competition between different providers. A monopolist would have hardly any incentives to improve the quality of reporting and exploit the innovation potential, particularly on the internet.”

One happy party will be Deutsche Telekom, which is reportedly interested in acquiring streaming rights to the league.

Speaking to FAZ) CEO Dirk Wössner said that the company is looking to enhance its Magenta TV and MagentaSport OTT sports offer following the acquisition of rights to Euro 2024.

Wössner said: “MagentaTV is synonymous for sports, where football plays an important part, which is why the Bundesliga rights are generally interesting for us and our viewers. We will see how we deal specifically with rights in the coming year. There are various possibilities, for example through cooperation.”

The domestic rights tender is expected to take place towards the end of February.

Elsewhere in European football news, Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann has launched an esports team called Grizi Esport which is currently recruiting players.

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