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DAZN in limbo as Eurosport looks to pull plug on Bundesliga rights deal

DAZN wants to continue broadcasting the Bundesliga in Germany despite sub-licenser Eurosport wanting an out from its contract with the league.

According to a report from SportsProMedia, Eurosport – owned by Discovery – wants to exercise a ‘special termination’ clause in its contract that would allow it to get out of its €70 million a year deal for 45 Bundesliga matches per season.

While the German Football League (DFL) disputes that the coronavirus pandemic gives Eurosport cause to exercise this clause, it is believed that this has also left DAZN fretting its status with the league.

In summer 2019, Eurosport agreed to sublicense its rights to DAZN for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons but the Discovery-owned broadcaster’s apparent cold feet will have a significant impact on DAZN’s ability to broadcast the Bundesliga – which makes a central part of its offer in the German market.

DAZN was able to broadcast Werder Bremen’s home defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, but this came as a one match deal directly with the DFL. The streamer is scheduled to broadcast this Friday’s Berlin derby and it is believed to be exploring all options to do so, including another deal with the DFL.

The tender process for the next cycle of Bundesliga rights is set to take place in June, though it is unknown whether DAZN intends to throw its hat in the ring to fully acquire any rights packages itself.

Elsewhere in the US, ViacomCBS is reportedlylikely to end its relationship with DAZN which broadcasts its Bellator MMA promotion. Bellator signed a five year deal with DAZN in June 2018, but as ViacomCBS takes stock of its assets the media goliath is apparently ready to call the deal off early.

In spite of that, the report notes that DAZN is still interested in combat sports to complement its main draw of Matchroom Boxing and that it is in talks with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.