Sky Deutschland Retains Bundesliga Rights At Auction
04/17/2012| 10:14am US/Eastern
-- To pay average annual license fee of EUR485.7 million for 2013/14 to 2016/17 seasons
-- Fee represents rise from EUR225 million to EUR275 million a season now
-- Sky Deutschland scoops rights for cable, satellite, terrestrial, IPTV, web and mobile TV, Bundesliga second division pay-TV
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By Harriet Torry
Sky Deutschland AG (>> Sky Deutschland AG) retained key broadcasting rights Tuesday for top matches of Germany's Bundesliga soccer league, but competition from other parties including telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom AG (>> Deutsche Telekom AG) means the sum that Sky will pay to broadcast matches every year is set to roughly double.
Sky Deutschland is currently paying between EUR225 million and EUR275 million a season for a package that includes rights for live Bundesliga broadcasts via satellite and cable. It will pay EUR485.7 million under the new deal, which includes rights to more platforms including Internet transmission known as IPTV as well as web and mobile TV.
German league association Deutsche Fussball Liga GmbH, or DFL, secured overall revenue of EUR628 million a season for 2013/14 through to 2016/17 for national Bundesliga broadcasting rights at the auction, up about 52% from the EUR412 million a season from the last auction.
DFL President Reinhard Rauball told a news conference that the league sought to incorporate the financial interests of clubs and companies as well as the wishes of the fans and media partners.
There were gasps from assembled journalists when DFL Chief Executive Officer Christian Seifert announced the EUR628 million overall figure. Recent media reports had suggested a sum nearer the EUR500 million mark.
Deutsche Telekom also unexpectedly got nothing in the auction, losing the rights it currently holds for IPTV to Sky Deutschland. The telecommunications giant had bid for the satellite and cable rights under a plan to launch a so-called wholesale offer that would have also allowed it to license Bundesliga games to other companies, but that proved unsuccessful.
Christian Illek, marketing chief of Deutsche Telekom's German unit, told a conference call that his company bid more than what is currently being paid for the pay-TV rights, but was still below Sky Deutschland's offer, declining to provide a specific number.
He also said that he believes Deutsche Telekom will find some sort of agreement regarding future soccer broadcasts with Sky Deutschland.
Four other German media outlets received rights in the auction. Publisher Axel Springer AG (>> Axel Springer AG) got rights for the first time, it will show clips on web-TV and via mobile with a certain delay. Public broadcaster ARD again secured the rights to air a Bundesliga highlights show on Saturday evenings. Sport 1 and ZDF got some highlight and Bundesliga 2 rights.
Sky took home the lion's share, however, including all pay-TV rights for cable, satellite and terrestrial television, IPTV, as well as web and mobile TV.
The Bundesliga is the second-largest league in Europe by revenue after the U.K.'s Premier League, according to DFL, with an average 18 million viewers each weekend last season.
News Corp. (NWS), which owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal, has a 49.9% stake in Sky Deutschland.
- By Harriet Torry and Philipp Grontzki, Dow Jones Newswires: +49 69 29725 511: firstname.lastname@example.org