CJ E&M, the South Korean media group, has secured exclusive broadcast rights to the next three seasons of German soccer’s top-tier Bundesliga, in a deal running until the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
The arrangement, which starts in August, was concluded with Bundesliga International, a subsidiary of the league.
From the start of the 2021-22 season, CJ E&M will have rights to every Bundesliga match for the next three years, and the agreement also includes rights to the annual Supercup – which next season will see heavyweights Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund face off – as well as the season-ending relegation playoffs.
Bundesliga action will be shown by the broadcaster’s TVN and XTVN linear channels, as well as through its over-the-top platform TVNG, and on other digital and mobile sites.
CJ E&M takes over from national broadcaster KBS in covering Bundesliga action in South Korea.
KBS, which showed games via free-to-air TV, as well as on cable, satellite, IPTV and digital platforms, only held rights last season, with Germany’s top-tier league having been covered for the five years before that by international pay-TV broadcaster Fox Sports, as part of an 80-territory deal which expired in June 2020.
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As well as the live coverage, Bundesliga International has said it “will work closely with [CJ E&M] to deliver insight and analysis throughout the week so that Korean fans are kept up to date”, and that the two parties will work together on wider cooperation.
Robert Klein, chief executive of Bundesliga International, said: “Korean players have long been a part of the Bundesliga’s rich history… An important part of our agreement with CJ E&M was that we would work together to enhance the action on the pitch, by bringing fans the real stories of our players.”
During the 2020-21 season, nine South Korean players played in the Bundesliga, including Hee-Chan Hwang of RB Leipzig, Dong-Won Ji of Mainz 05, Seong-Hoon Chen of Augsburg, and Woo-Yeong Jeong and Chang-Hoon Kown, both of Freiburg.
Kyo-eun Koo, head of sports at CJ E&M, added: "Through acquiring the broadcast rights of one of Europe’s top soccer leagues, we aim to continue the positive momentum generated by broadcasting Euro 2020.”
CJ E&M, through its OTT platform, is the exclusive broadcaster in South Korea for the Uefa European Championships, and will show the final of that tournament live on Sunday.
Outside Europe, the Bundesliga has broadcast deals sewn up in key markets such as the US, via a deal with ESPN to 2026, with SuperSport, the pay-TV operator in sub-Saharan Africa until 2023, and with Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports in Australia and New Zealand also to 2023.
On the continent meanwhile, Bundesliga International has in recent months concluded rights deals with Network4 in Hungary, Sky in Italy, NENT (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), United Media (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia), and Setanta Sports (Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus).
In Germany itself, rights have been retained by pay-TV's Sky Deutschland, and OTT platform DAZN.