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Consensus reached over German TV rights to extra Nations League matches

The UEFA Nations League logo during UEFA Nations League Draw 2018 (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

The Uefa Nations League rights imbroglio involving German free-to-air broadcasters ARD, ZDF and RTL has been settled following talks with Uefa.

It has now been agreed that public broadcasters ARD and ZDF will show two additional Germany matches in the 2020-21 Nations League that they did not initially acquire the rights to. Meanwhile, commercial network RTL has acquired rights to Germany’s March friendlies against Spain and Italy.

There had been doubts over which German broadcaster would air the two extra matches that the German team will play following alterations made by Uefa to the league structure.

In September, the Uefa Executive Committee took the decision to switch from three-team to four-team groups in League A, meaning that Germany, will now play a guaranteed six group-stage matches, rather than the four it played in the 2018-19 tournament.

ARD and ZDF had acquired rights to 12 German national team matches in the 2018-19 to 2021-22 cycle. This initially included rights to the four group-stage matches in each Nations League edition, and then two additional matches per tournament dependent on the success of the national team.

As it turned out, the German team did not qualify for the 2018-19 semi-finals, and therefore ARD and ZDF were provided with rights instead to two friendlies played by Germany in March. These two friendlies – away to Spain on March 26 and at home to Italy on March 31 – will now be shown by RTL.

The commercial broadcaster has, in return, given up rights to additional Nations League matches. RTL holds rights to 28 Germany national team matches – 20 European qualifiers and eight friendlies – in a four-season deal with Uefa, from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Axel Balkausky, ARD’s sport co-ordinator, said: “It was important for us that we can continue to show all German matches in the Uefa Nations League exclusively live in our programming.”

All rights deals were struck on behalf of Uefa by CAA Eleven, its sales agent for its national team competition rights. DAZN, the OTT subscription platform, holds third-party rights to Nations League matches not involving Germany.

The reallocation of rights means that RTL will now show all four of Germany’s friendlies in the lead up to the Euro 2020, including the away match to Switzerland on May 31 and a home fixture against an as-yet-unnamed opponent on June 8.

There are 14 groups in the upcoming 2020-21 tournament, of which only one (League D2) will contain three teams. In the 2018-19 tournament there were 16 groups, including nine pools comprised of three teams.

The 2020-21 Nations League draw will take place on March 3 in Amsterdam and will be streamed in Germany on the zdfsport.de website.