Bundesliga: Premiere, ARD celebrate status quo

German soccer association Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) has allocated the domestic TV rights from the 2009/10 season: Public broadcaster ARD will be able to continue to screen Bundesliga highlights coverage on its popular free-to-air programme Sportschau on Saturdays from 18:30 CET, while pay-TV operator Premiere will continue to show all live matches of the first and second leagues.

The rights are valid through to the 2012/2013 season. New to the arrangement is that Premiere will be able to screen the newly introduced game of the week live on Saturdays at 18:30 CET, which Sportschau will not be able to cover, while ARD will report on Sundays from 21:45 CET about that day’s matches. These rights have been held until now by sports channel Deutsche SportFernsehen (DSF). Additionally, Premiere will for the first time screen all matches live on web TV via internet. Each season Premiere will also screen at least 96 of the 612 matches in high definition.

The IPTV and mobile TV rights for live transmissions of all games of the first and second leagues were again given to Deutsche Telekom, while ARD’s fellow public broadcaster ZDF again won the second usage rights for its programme Aktuelle Sportstudio on Saturdays at 22:00 CET, which will be the first to report extensively on the new game of the week on free-to-air television. DSF will provide second league coverage on Friday and Sunday along with live transmissions of the second league’s Monday game, while ARD will report on Sportschau about the second league’s Saturday matches.

Altogether DFL achieved an average of €412 million per season from the sale of the TV rights, an average of around €7 million more per year than under the current deal.

DFL’s decision will have come as a particular relief to Premiere. The subscription broadcaster, which through the game of the week will gain more exclusivity, laid more than the current €205-€220 million per season on the table. The price lies between approximately €225 million for the first year and around €275 million for the fourth year. Other DFL contract partners did not reveal financial details.

Leo Kirch DID hold the rights to produce and market the soccer rights until his deal was outlawed by Germany’s Cartel Office in September.

“We've come up with quite a presentable agreement," said DFL president Reinhard Rauball. "The potential for growth was limited due to the fact that we're in an extremely difficult media market at the moment and due to disadvantages caused by anti-trust agency decisions."

Premiere stock on Friday rose 6% to €6.45, having already rocketed 40% on Thursday. Speculation about a successful bid – and news that Italian prime minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi had bought a 3% stake – had helped drive the stock sharply higher from about €3 during the past few days.