German football clubs are contemplating the idea of setting up their own dedicated channel rather than be dependent on third parties such as Sky Deutschland. “The clubs are strong enough to launch an autonomous Bundesliga TV channel. The Liga has to work now on a scenario of our own TV station,” said Thomas Mann Röttger, MD of VfL Wolfsburg, to Handelsblatt.
The German Football League (DFL), parent organisation of the Bundesliga, will earn €1.65 billion through television rights from 2009 until 2013. Some 60% of that income comes from Sky. Should Sky fail, the clubs may struggle financially.
According to Deutsche Welle, DFL president Reinhard Rauball recently dismissed concerns, saying: “We’re informed about this and are following the numbers with appropriate interest. Based on what we know as of now, everything is still within reason.” Nevertheless, Rauball said the organisation had distributed financial information about Sky Deutschland to each of its 36 professional clubs.
This is not the first time that the German clubs are faced with risking to lose their income from TV rights. In 2002, the Kirch Group, who held the exclusive rights at the time, collapsed under debt, leaving the company unable to pay more than €100 million for contracted television rights.
This time, Sky is not the only contract party to the Bundesliga. Deutsche Telekom owns the rights to broadcast Bundesliga games over their IPTV service Entertain and claim over 1 million subscribers.