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DAZN clinches bulk of Champions League rights in Germany, ZDF nets package

Thomas Muller of FC Bayern Munich during the UEFA Champions League (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Streaming service DAZN and public-service broadcaster ZDF have picked up the remaining packages of Uefa Champions League rights in Germany for the new cycle, from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

DAZN has acquired two packages of Champions League rights, the first-pick match on Wednesday evenings and the remaining live matches, aside from the first-pick Tuesday evening match acquired earlier this week by Amazon. ZDF secured live free-to-air rights to the final, along with highlights.

SportBusiness understands that DAZN and ZDF acquired their rights after at least three rounds of bidding. Amazon acquired its rights in the first round.

The news means that pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland, one of Uefa’s incumbent partners, will miss out on live Champions League rights. The rights in the current cycle to Europe’s elite clubs competition (from 2018-19 to 2020-21) are held by Sky and DAZN. Sky initially acquired rights from Uefa directly, but subsequently sublicensed a significant portion of its Champions League rights to DAZN.

Carsten Schmidt, chief executive officer of Sky Deutschland, told Bild newspaper: “In the tendering process that has just been completed, we have not been able to agree on a continuation of the cooperation after about 20 years of partnership with Uefa.

“We have an economically clear and responsible view on the value of sports rights, however, even in the interests of our customers, we were not prepared to go beyond the high value that we attach to this right.”

Uefa, through its exclusive club competition sales agent Team Marketing, launched a tender in Germany on October 30, with a bid deadline of December 3.

The coverage moved exclusively behind a pay wall in Germany in 2018 after ZDF was unable to hold on to its rights package.

Team is selling the rights to the Europa League and Europa Conference League together, while the rights to the Champions League continue to be packaged with the Uefa Super Cup but also the Uefa Youth League.