Coupang Play, the streaming service run by the South Korean e-commerce giant, has secured rights to German soccer’s top-tier Bundesliga from the 2024-25 season.
The deal gives Coupang Play exclusive rights to matches from the Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga, as well as the German Supercup and the relegation play-off matches.
The digital platform will replace the current Bundesliga rightsholder CJ ENM, the South Korean media group.
As well as live matches, Coupang Play will offer the Bundesliga’s ‘Goal Arena’ TV product to viewers in South Korea, with action from the five matches taking place simultaneously on a Saturday evening. It will also provide the league’s ‘Interactive Feed’ to its over-the-top (OTT) customers.
Coupang and Bundesliga International, the global commercial rights division of the league, will also work together on a series of additional projects to promote the development of soccer in Korea, including marketing activations and knowledge sharing on topics such as technological advancement.
Bundesliga sides will also be invited to compete in the Coupang Play Series, a pre-season tournament that takes place in South Korea.
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The Bundesliga is home to several South Korean players including Bayern Munich’s Kim Min-Jae Stuttgart’s Jeong Woo-Yeong, and Mainz’s Lee Jae-Sung.
Peer Naubert, Bundesliga International's chief marketing officer, said: “This strategic partnership goes way beyond the broadcast agreement. This is an opportunity to highlight the best of the Bundesliga with a partner that shares our ambitious and exciting vision.
“Over the last four decades, the Bundesliga has been privileged to have some of the best Korean players. We are excited to support the identification and development of future generations of Korean stars, and we believe that Coupang Play is the ideal partner to embark on that journey with.”
The deal adds to Coupang Play’s soccer rights portfolio which includes AFC competitions, the domestic K League, and Spain’s LaLiga, which it secured in a five-year deal last year.
The Bundesliga has international broadcast deals in place in almost every major market for at least the next three seasons.
Last month, Network4, the Hungarian pay television broadcaster, announced an early extension of its rights deal for another four seasons through 2028-2029.
In recent months, new and extended deals have been agreed with BeIN Sports (Asia-Pacific), Next Media (Vietnam), Abema (Japan), Sony Pictures Networks (India), Canal Plus and New World TV (Sub-Saharan Africa), DAZN (Canada), and OneFootball, Canal Goat, and CazéTV (Brazil).
Meanwhile, the DFL, the organizing body of the German league, has invited five private equity companies to submit bids for a stake in the commercial rights for its top two divisions, it has been reported.
Investors would be expected to pay up to €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to the DFL over the next few years, according to Reuters.
The DFL expects preliminary bids from at least four of these investors at the beginning of December.
The league is making a third attempt to bring in outside investment in the hope of finally securing a majority vote from its clubs to proceed with an auction.
The 36 clubs that make up the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga will vote at a meeting on December 11 on whether to enter a strategic partnership with a private equity firm with a view of selling a share in their commercial rights. A two-thirds majority is required.
A potential sale would have to be concluded before April, as the league will go to market with its next cycle of domestic broadcasting rights for the 2025-2026 to 2028-2029 seasons.
In exchange for an investment of up to €1 billion, the DFL will offer a stake below 10% in a newly founded marketing company for 20 years, which will hold the television, advertising, and digital rights to the Bundesliga.
The DFL recently revealed several guidelines – which it called "red lines" – and made it clear that it will not sell a share in its organization but will offer "a temporary minority interest in licensing revenue from the sale of the DFL's commercial rights to safeguard the clubs’ interests."
The league body also outlined that once the temporary minority interest expires, the licensed rights would automatically return to the body.
This will be the third time the DFL will seek an investment deal. In May, clubs voted to end talks with private equity groups over a potential stake in their media rights business, while in 2021, the league was also forced to abandon an attempt to sell a share.