Sky Deutschland Retains TV Rights To Bundesliga

By iSportconnect | April 17, 2012

(Source:Reuters) Reuters have reported that Sky Deutschland, part owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, was reported to have retained the main live TV rights to top-flight domestic soccer, seen as crucial to securing the future of the loss-making German pay-TV group.

Sky Deutschland saw off heavyweight challenger Deutsche Telekom in an auction for cable and satellite rights to Bundesliga action, top-selling daily Bild said.

Its shares were up 25 percent to 2.5080 euros at 1024 GMT on Tuesday.

“There were some severe fears that Sky Deutschland may lose the rights. The news is clearly positive, even though a price is not named so far,” a local trader said.

Cable and satellite rights for the four seasons starting 2013/14 were set to cost at least 275 million euros ($360 million) per season, up from an average 250 million now.

Sky Deutschland needs the cable and satellite rights to survive because soccer is a main draw for many of its 3 million subscribers. Sport is one of the main drivers of pay TV, and News Corp companies have always been prepared to pay a premium for rights.

To shore up cash for the rights, Sky Deutschland sold new shares for more than 150 million euros earlier this year and has plans to raise about another 150 million later this year.

Deutsche Telekom, the former state telecoms monopoly, has retained less lucrative internet rights to action in a league in which Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the main forces, Bild reported.

Sky Deutschland would not comment, while Deutsche Telekom was not available to comment.

Deutsche Telekom shares were up 1.5 percent to 8.68 euros.

“It is a bit of a relief that they have kept discipline in the process,” said Frederic Boulan of Nomura.

The German Football League (DFL) is due to announce the auction results on Tuesday at a news conference following a meeting with the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga’s two divisions.

Fierce competition among bidders is set to drive up the total cost of the various rights packages to a record of at least 450 million euros per season, up from 412 million.

That would compare with the average 600 million pounds ($950 million) per season which the English Premier League gets from BSkyB and ESPN for domestic TV rights under a three-year deal that expires in 2013.

Aside from Sky Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom, media reports said Liberty Global’s Unitymedia and Kabel Deutschland were also vying for rights.

Bayern Munich, Germany’s richest club, was ranked behind Real Madrid, European champions Barcelona and Manchester United in terms of revenue in 2010/11, according to a study by Deloitte. Schalke 04 were the only other German club in the top 10.

Bayern face Real Madrid on Tuesday in the last four of the Champions League, Europe’s top club competition.