Green light for German Bundesliga rights tender

Jörn Krieger ©RapidTVNews | 14-01-2012

The first free-to-air games coverage of domestic football league Bundesliga in Germany could in future be on the internet and mobile devices with conventional television to follow several hours later.

The German cartel office Bundeskartellamt gave the green light to national football association Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) for its planned Bundesliga rights tender for the seasons from 2013/14, which will include the web-TV option for the first time.
The rights for highlights footage on free-to-air TV will be offered as two alternative scenarios. The first package comprises the highlights of Saturday games to be shown from 18.30 CET on conventional television, as is currently the case. In the second option, the first coverage would be on internet TV and mobile TV and only from 21.45 CET on conventional television. This would effectively put an end to public broadcaster ARD's popular sports programme Sportschau in its current shape, which has traditionally been showing the first Bundesliga images on free-to-air television.
The cartel office already indicated in June 2011 that it would not have anti-trust objections against the tender of the two alternative rights scenarios for free-to-air coverage.
With the new model, DFL wants to heat up competition for the free-to-air rights, hoping that the prospect for web-TV and mobile TV providers to obtain a head-start against classic TV broadcasters could attract new bidders and push up prices. Yahoo! has already indicated its interest in the internet TV rights. Industry sources suggest that Germany's largest publishing house Axel Springer Verlag could also be interested in the rights to expand the website of its market-leading tabloit newspaper BILD. Vodafone Germany also recently confirmed its interest in the Bundesliga rights.
The domestic free-to-air rights are currently held by ARD, ZDF and Sport1, with the pay-TV rights in the hands of Sky Deutschland (cable and satellite) and Deutsche Telekom (IPTV and mobile TV).