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German watchdog drops Sky-DAZN probe

German competition watchdog the Bundeskartellamt has closed its proceedings against pay TV operator Sky and sports streamer DAZN for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive agreements in connection with broadcasting rights to the UEFA Champions League.

The regulator had taken action because of suspicions that Sky and DAZN had agreed to divide the broadcasting rights for Germany between the seasons 2018/2019 to 2020/21 .

The rights to all of the games had been acquired by Sky alone and a part of the games was subsequently sublicensed to DAZN. The net result was that Champions League matches were no longer available on free-to-air TV in Germany.

Andreas Mundt

The watchdog said that unlike collaboration before rights are awarded, partnerships after they are allocated is permissible under certain circumstances.

“At first glance, the behaviour of Sky and DAZN was not unproblematic from an antitrust perspective. However, there were various reasons why the proceedings should be terminated,” said Andreas Mundt, Bundeskartellamt president.

“The market is generally on the move, and new players are appearing – the recent Champions League rights allocation for the seasons from 2021-22 has shown this again. In addition, due to the effects of the Corona crisis on the current seasons in national and international football, it is difficult to predict how the market will develop in the near future. The effects of an antitrust intervention would therefore currently be uncertain.”

The Bundeskartellamt launched its investigation into the pair in October.