Deadline set for Champions League rights bids in German-speaking countries

Benjamin Pavard of Bayern Munich during UEFA Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Broadcasters in German-speaking countries must deliver their first-round bids for rights to the Uefa Champions League, the Europa League and the new third-tier Europa Conference League by December 3, SportBusiness understands.

The Team Marketing agency will soon issue the invitation to submit offers for the rights in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.

Rights in Germany are shared by Sky Deutschland and subscription OTT platform DAZN. The coverage moved exclusively behind a pay wall in 2018 after public broadcaster ZDF was unable to hold on to its rights package.

Sky and DAZN also hold the rights in Austria after public broadcaster ORF was dislodged during the last tender process.

Switzerland is one country where a deal with a free-to-air broadcaster remains in place with public-service broadcaster SRG SSR holding a package of rights to supplement pay-TV coverage on Teleclub. In acquiring the rights for the current cycle (2018-19 to 2020-21), SRG SSR’s coverage was reduced from two games per match week to one game.

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.

The agency is taking the rights to market with heightened competition in Germany given Deutsche Telekom’s agreement for rights to the 2024 European Championships, a deal that was formally announced today.

Team kicked off its new sales cycle by launching in the UK and US markets, with first-round bid deadlines of November 5 and November 11, respectively. The process is also under way in France where broadcasters must lodge their offers by November 27.

The agency was out in force once again here at the Sportel trade fair, engaging in discussions with worldwide broadcasters in private meetings rooms at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

Asked about what he wanted to achieve from the Champions League auction, Thomas de Buhr, DAZN’s executive vice-president in German-speaking countries, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung earlier this month: “What any buyer would like: we want as many rights as possible for as little money as possible.”

Questioned on whether a hefty Champions League rights offer would leave DAZN with less of budget for a domestic Bundesliga rights bid, de Buhr replied: “In the end it will depend on the correct allocation of the budget. We have a target figure for our number of users and this is linked to the expenditure.”

There was some anger from German football fans last season when there was no free-to-air coverage of the Champions League final (between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur). The game was only shown by DAZN and Sky.

On the subject, de Buhr stressed that users would have been able to watch the final ‘free’ by signing up to DAZN’s trial month without any cost.

He continued: “We are very happy with this rights package. We are ahead of the business plan that we set ourselves.”