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DFL initiate domestic Bundesliga media rights tender process

Published: Updated: 12:31, 16 Jan 2024
DFL recently announced its historic decision to sell its stake in media rights

The Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL), the governing body of German soccer, has kick-started the registration phase for its next four-year domestic broadcast rights tender for the Bundesliga matches. This move marks a significant step in the sports media landscape.

The DFL released a statement on January 15 inviting interested firms to register for the tender. Companies that respond will receive a procedural letter outlining key details such as entry criteria, deadlines, and the schedule of the tender process. Following this, an invitation to tender (ITT) will be dispatched to all registered entities.

The upcoming tender will be for both digital and audio rights

During the upcoming process, Bundesliga rights will be sold in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, South Tyrol, and East Belgium from 2025-26 to 2028-29. As part of the process, Tenders will also be issued for audio rights, as well as rights to exploit digital advertising and information systems.

Domestic live TV rights are currently shared among Sky Deutschland, DAZN, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sport 1, while ARD holds free-to-air highlights rights. These deals total approximately €1.1 billion ($1.2bn) per year.

A decision regarding these allocations is anticipated in Q2 2024 according to DFL.

DFL have rejected possibility of model similar to Italian football

In a recent interview, Steffen Merkel - co-chief executive at Bundesliga - dismissed any possibility of adopting a revenue-sharing deal similar to what DAZN have for Serie A matches.

Steffen Merkel, Co-Chief executive at Bundesliga, said:

"As soon as you build sales-dependent components into a contract, bids for rights packages are no longer comparable one-to-one. For example, if one broadcaster offers us €100 million and 50% of the subscription revenue above and another offers us €120 but only 20% of the revenue, we have a problem when it comes to comparability – but that is important for one non-discriminatory tendering.”

“Also, with a view to the planning security of clubs with long-term player contracts, we, like other leagues, have an interest in receiving offers with a comparable and predictable sum.”

The DFL is reportedly delaying the launch of the actual tender until it receives a ruling from the Bundeskartellamt, Germany's cartel office. The issue at hand is whether a clause in the tender that prevents rights from being sold to one single buyer can be removed. As it stands, these rights are legally required to be divided among media partners.

This development marks an important phase in German soccer’s domestic broadcast rights landscape. It will be interesting to see how this process unfolds and which entities will secure these coveted broadcasting rights for one of Europe's most popular football leagues.

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