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DFL set to float domestic tender following cartel office approval

DFL have finally found some breakthrough after some recent challenges

The German Football League (DFL) has been given the green light by the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) to issue domestic media rights tender documents of Bundesliga matches for the 2025-26 to 2028-29 period. This follows the Bundeskartellamt's official ratification of scrapping the no single-buyer rule, a move that is set to make sports broadcasting more competitive and attractive.

Introduced in 2016, the no single-buyer rule was designed to reduce exclusivity in sports broadcasting by requiring rights to be split between different media partners. However, this rule has now been abolished, allowing a single buyer to purchase all available rights if they wish.

This change is expected to significantly impact how sports tenders are conducted not only in Germany but also in other markets such as UK and Italy where similar rules have been applied.

DFL already started the initial tender procedure in January 

With this new development, DFL is set to begin its rights auction for the next cycle starting mid-April. The league had asked interested firms earlier this year in January to register their interest but could only send out tender documents after Bundeskartellamt made its final ruling on February 26th.

Steffen Merkel, DFL managing director, said:

“We are very pleased about the final approval by the Federal Cartel Office for the concept of our media rights tender after a very intensive review.

“The approval of the model planned by the DFL – in particular the abolition of the ban on single-occupancy that was called for in the past – puts the allocation of media rights on a legally secure foundation and is a strong basis for a good tender.”

In terms of specific packages on offer: four live rights packages can be sold entirely or partially; two technology-neutral packages cover Bundesliga 2 matches; one free-to-air (FTA) package offers at least nine live games across both leagues including Supercup and post-season relegation playoffs. These lots will cover a total of 617 matches per season. Additionally, there are three audio rights packages as well as one 'digital out of home' package available.

In the current 2021-22 to 2024-25 rights cycle, domestic live rights for Bundesliga action are shared between Sky Deutschland, DAZN, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sport1 with deals worth approximately €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) annually.

DFL to create separate highlight package to explore social media market

DFL has also created new highlights rights packages that can be used as early as Monday following the weekend’s action. One of these will focus on digital platforms and include broadcasting of 90-second clips.

This is in addition to pay-TV rights for highlight clips available immediately after all matches end. The DFL also hinted at potential opportunities for social media clips to be posted during games in the next cycle.

The changes brought about by Bundeskartellamt's ruling promise a more competitive landscape for sports broadcasting in Germany and potentially other markets too. It remains to be seen how this will impact sports fans and betting enthusiasts alike.

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