Bundesliga begins domestic sales process and renews with NENT to 2025
By Jonathan Rest
German soccer's Bundesliga today launched the tender for domestic media rights for the next cycle, on the same day it renewed an exclusive deal with regional media giant Nordic Entertainment Group.
The domestic tender covers the Bundesliga, second-tier 2. Bundesliga, the Supercup and the relegation play-offs for the 2021-22 to 2024-25 cycle, taking in Germany, Austria Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and the South Tyrol region of Italy.
The tender covers audiovisual rights across all platforms, audio exploitation rights and exploitation rights for digital advertising and information systems. All companies interested in acquiring the rights can register to participate via https://www.dfl.de/de/aktuelles/ausschreibung2020.
The DFL, the German soccer league, will then send the registered companies a procedure letter no earlier than 27 February, which will include the schedule and procedural rules.
The Bundeskartellamt, the federal cartel office, is still reviewing the details of the allocation mechanisms, amid reports last month that it had cited competition concerns with how the tender had been drafted.
Once it has completed its review, the DFL will send all admitted companies the invitation to tender documentation, most likely next month.
The DFL said it expects to award the rights in May.
Pay-TV's Sky Deutschland presently holds live rights to the bulk of matches in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga each season in a four-year deal worth €3.5 billion ($3.8 billion) that runs until the end of the 2020-21 campaign. Another 45 matches per season are shown by DAZN, the international over-the-top platform that sub-licensed rights from Discovery, the US media giant, ahead of the 2019-20 season. Eurosport originally paid €340 million for rights to the games.
They will face competition for the rights in the next cycle from the likes of Amazon, which will be a Champions League rights-holder in the next cycle, having marked its entry into the German market with Tuesday night games, and Deutsche Telekom, which is known to be looking to build up its portfolio for the MagentaTV streaming platform, with domestic Uefa Euro 2024 rights already secured.
Five live packages are expected in the tender, with four targeted at pay-TV broadcasters or over-the-top providers, and one at free-to-air broadcasters, according to reports in Germany.
The four pay-TV packages are: the simultaneous ‘Konferenz’ coverage of various matches on Saturdays; the 3.30pm Saturday game; the top 6.30pm Saturday game; and the Friday and Sunday games.
The free-to-air package, currently held by public-service broadcaster ZDF, covers three Bundesliga matches, including the opening game, the German Supercup, four relegation play-offs and the opening game from the 2. Bundesliga.
No Bundesliga matches will be played on Monday nights from 2021-22 following opposition from fans.
The draft tender allowed for a broadcaster to acquire all four ‘subscription’ packages so long as it shared one with an internet provider, but the cartel office is understood to have pushed for two of the packages to be awarded non-exclusively and shared with an internet provider. Likewise, an OTT platform would not be able to buy all four packages exclusively.
Nordic rights Fresh off the back of a six-year, bumper rights agreement with England's Premier League, NENT announced today it will continue to show the Bundesliga in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland until the end of the 2024-25 campaign.
Its current deal in those four countries expires after the 2020-21 season.
More than 300 games will be streamed live on the Viaplay platform, with selected games on NENT's linear television channels. At least one game per week will be shown in ultra high definition.
The contract also includes exclusive pan-Nordic rights to the German Super Cup, second-tier 2. Bundesliga and the Bundesliga relegation play-off matches.
There are 23 Nordic players in the top-tier Bundesliga (and 20 in the second-tier), headlined by Norwegian teenager Erling Braut Håland at Borussia Dortmund (pictured), who scored a 23-minute hat-trick on his league debut last month.
Kim Mikkelsen, NENT head of sport, said: “The Bundesliga is one of Europe’s best and most exciting leagues, and holds enormous interest from a Nordic perspective. This long-term deal means fans can see many of the region’s biggest talents every week on Viaplay, including Erling Braut Håland – the first teenager in the league’s history to score seven goals in only three Bundesliga games. NENT Group is the Nordic region’s leading streaming company and the breadth of our football coverage is simply in a league of its own.”
Robert Klein, chief executive of Bundesliga International, added: “Over the past few years NENT Group has taken coverage of the Bundesliga to the next level across the Nordic region. This has been helped by the strong connections the league has with Nordic fans. They’re attracted by the pure, entertaining soccer we describe as ‘Football As It’s Meant To Be’. This authenticity is why so many Nordic stars have made a significant impact in Germany, none more so than Erling Braut Håland who is the hottest striker in the world right now. We look forward to capitalising on this as we continue to develop the positive relationship we have built with NENT Group.”
Last week, NENT sealed an exclusive six-year deal for Premier League across the Nordic region to 2027-28. It does not presently hold the rights in Norway, where commercial broadcaster TV2 shows the English top-flight.
Uefa Champions League rights are set to hit the market in the Nordics soon.
In September, Bundesliga International struck a six-year rights deal in USA with ESPN, in which coverage will be focused on over-the-top streaming service ESPN+.