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DFL announce details of domestic rights tender

DFL have scraped the no single-buyer rule for the new cycle

The German Football League (DFL) has announced the details of its domestic media rights tender for the 2025-26 to 2028-29 cycle. The tender covers not only Germany but also Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and South Tyrol. It includes the top-tier Bundesliga, second-tier Bundesliga 2 and the German Supercup matches.

One significant change is that the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office) has lifted a ban on domestic media rights being sold exclusively to one buyer. This 'no single-buyer' rule had been in place for nearly a decade with an aim to make competitions attractive to various broadcasters by reducing exclusivity.

Previously applied in markets like UK and Italy as well as Germany since 2016 Bundesliga domestic rights tender, this rule required rights to be split between media partners. However, this will no longer be necessary moving forward.

The specifics of tender package have been revamped

The specific packages on offer include seven live and eight highlights packages covering a total of 617 matches per season. Four live rights packages are for pay-TV; two are technology-neutral covering Bundesliga 2 matches; one is for free-to-air (FTA) rights offering at least nine live games across all leagues including Supercup and post-season relegation playoffs.

In addition to these offerings are three audio rights packages along with one package covering 'digital out of home.' Interested firms were asked by DFL in mid-January to register their interest in these tenders.

Several changes have been made from the current cycle running from 2021-22 through 2024-25 where Sky Deutschland, DAZN, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sport1 share domestic live rights worth approximately €1.1 billion ($1.2bn) annually.

Rights winners can broadcast FTA through their platform

One of the pay-TV packages now includes rights to cover all individual Bundesliga games on Friday and Saturday, a change from the previous cycle where it covered fixtures on Friday and Sunday.

Successful bidders for pay-TV rights will also have more opportunities to broadcast matches free-to-air either through their platforms or in cooperation with other broadcasters and streaming services.

New highlights rights packages have been created that can be used as early as Monday following the weekend’s action, including broadcasting 90-second clips on digital platforms.

Social media clips are key part of new tender package

The DFL has hinted at potential opportunities during the next cycle for social media clips to be posted during games. This is in addition to pay-TV rights for highlight clips following each match's final whistle.

Match timings will remain largely unchanged from the current cycle, with a slight increase in games taking place on Sunday at 7:30pm being the only minor adjustment.

The DFL stated that it is "relying on a tried and trusted match schedule structure while taking account of changes in media usage behavior through innovations in the rights packages." The league also plans regular "special productions" with its chosen partners, including broadcasts specifically designed for children.

These changes reflect an evolving landscape of sports broadcasting where exclusivity may become more common. The lifting of 'no single-buyer' rule could potentially lead to significant shifts within German football's media landscape over coming years.

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