German media mogul Leo Kirch is back in business with his new deal to market the games of the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL). Starting in 2009, Kirch’s Sirius subsidiary has acquired the marketing rights for a period of six years guaranteeing the Bundesliga an income of at least €3 billion.
Kirch will not only sell the games to broadcasters, but will also take care of the production. This will give the Bundesliga editorial control of the way the games are presented. To this end, a new company will be formed with Sirius holding 51% and DFL the remaining 49%.
The plan to produce games themselves has met with fierce opposition, with the German union of journalists being one of the first to voice its criticism. Pay-TV operator Premiere said it will still bid for the rights, but will not take any prepared product from the DFL-Kirch grouping. Also, public broadcaster ZDF said it is not willing to pay more for the same rights.
Another issue will be the time of airing of the clips the public broadcasters want to acquire.
To date, ARD has shown clips early in the evening during its Sportschau magazine programme, but pay-TV broadcaster Premiere wants to shift such broadcasts until after 22.00. ARD already said it would be ‘unthinkable’ to move the programme to such a late hour.
The current holder of the live coverage rights of the Bundesliga games, Unitymedia’s Arena, will not take part in the bidding. But commercial broadcaster RTL might want to take part, the broadcaster said.