The Federal German cartel office is currently examining the conformity with competition law of the cooperation between Sky Deutschland and Perform Group, operator of sports streaming service DAZN, for the broadcast of the UEFA Champions League in Germany.
In a tender conducted by European sports association UEFA in 2017, Sky Deutschland acquired the broadcasting rights for all matches in the period between 2018 and 2021. Sky and DAZN subsequently divided the rights amongst themselves. The Champions League has thus solely been shown by Sky and DAZN since the beginning of the ongoing season 2018/19.
“The new season marks some changes for television viewers in Germany. Sky and DAZN are two major premium sports content providers in subscription television,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the cartel office. “We are examining when and in what form the cooperation between the two companies was established and whether the cooperation promotes competition in the interest of consumers or restricts it.”
As Germany’s leading pay-TV provider, Sky is potentially subject to particular restrictions under competition law when cooperating with competitors. The agreement between Sky and Perform could contribute to further consolidation of Sky’s market position, according to the anti-trust authority. Moreover, several matches of German and other clubs are now exclusively available online (OTT), and there is no more free-to-air TV broadcasting of Champions League live games in Germany. A restriction of competition by object or effect through the cooperation can also be considered in this respect, according to the cartel office.
As a first step, the cartel office will examine the facts of the case. For this purpose, the competition authority will request information from Sky, DAZN and other market players regarding details of the tender procedure for the broadcasting rights and other aspects.