For the first time in the history of the UEFA Champions League, all games will be shown exclusively on pay-TV in Germany and Austria from the 2018/19 season to the 2020/21 season.
Sky Deutschland secured the TV rights for all distribution platforms and will continue to transmit the matches via satellite, cable, IPTV and web/mobile TV (Sky Go and Sky Ticket). UK-based Perform Group will stream its share of games on its subscription OTT sports portal DAZN through a sublicensing deal.
Financial details were not disclosed. According to industry speculation, Sky Deutschland and Perform Group will pay a total of around €600 million for the exclusive TV rights in the three seasons. In time for the beginning of the new rights period, both companies want to announce further details regarding their agreement.
German public broadcaster ZDF which currently screens selected games on free-to-air TV, remains empty-handed, just like public broadcaster ORF in Austria. “We would have liked to show our viewers live matches of the Champions League beyond 2018 and therefore submitted a very good offer. But, as a broadcaster financed by the public TV licence fee, there is a clearly defined limit,” said ZDF’s general director Dr Thomas Bellut.
“For football fans, the transfer of the Champions League to pay-TV is bad news,” added Bellut. “European top football will become an exclusive offer for considerably less viewers than before.”
One game, however, could end up being available free-to-air: If a German team is part of the final, this match has to be shown on free-to-air TV in Germany, according to the national broadcast law. Sky Deutschland would be able to screen the game on its free-to-air sports news channel Sky Sport News HD, but could also sublicense it to a third-party broadcaster. How the issue will be handled, can’t be said at this stage, a Sky Deutschland spokesman told Broadband TV News.