The Federal German Cartel Office has terminated its antitrust investigation in the UEFA Champions League rights deal between Sky Deutschland and DAZN.
The examination had been conducted due to suspected anti-competitive agreements in relation to the allocation of the broadcast rights. The suspicion was that, prior to the award procedure, the companies had agreed to split the broadcasting rights for Germany for the seasons 2018/19 to 2020/21 between them.
Pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland was the only company to acquire the broadcasting rights for all matches and then sublicensed the rights to some of the matches to sports streaming service DAZN. As a result, Champions League matches were no longer broadcast live on free-TV.
“At first, Sky and DAZN’s conduct seemed problematic under competition law. However, there were some reasons for discontinuing the proceeding,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office. “New players entering the market are increasing its dynamism, which was again demonstrated by the recent award procedure regarding Champions League broadcasting rights for matches as from the 2021/22 season.”
“What is more, the effects of the Corona crisis on the current football season in Europe make near-term market developments hardly predictable. For this reason, it would currently be particularly difficult to assess the effects of an intervention under competition law,” added Mundt.