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DFL agrees direct DAZN deal for Monday Bundesliga match, Sky nets record audience

Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund will become the first team to benefit from Sportfive's partnership with Bundeling (Photo by Martin Meissner / POOL / AFP)

The German Football League (DFL) has agreed a one-match media-rights deal with subscription streaming service DAZN for this evening’s Bundesliga match between Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen.

DAZN has been broadcasting Friday-evening Bundesliga matches throughout the 2019-20 season as part of its sublicensing agreement with international media group Discovery. That deal includes rights to 40 Bundesliga matches per season, plus rights to the German Super Cup and relegation play-off matches.

Discovery initially acquired the 45-match package from the DFL, in a four-season deal from 2017-18 to 2020-21, but last year agreed to sell on rights to DAZN in a deal covering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Discovery has been seeking to terminate the contract with the DFL, utilising a reported ‘special termination’ clause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and raising doubts over whether DAZN would be able to continue broadcasting matches.

Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga matches resumed on March 16, following the green light from the German government earlier this month.

DAZN’s one-match deal has been secured directly with the DFL. The streaming platform is thought to be hopeful of finding a solution for the remainder of the matches it was due to broadcast.

The incentive is high, with pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland recording record audience figures for the first matches from the league’s return.

Sky registered a record total of 3.68 million viewers for its coverage of the 3.30pm (CET) matches on Saturday 16 May. This represented a market share of 27.4 per cent. An average of 1.62 million viewers were aged between 14 and 49 years old, a target market for the broadcaster.

Of the total audience for the 3.30pm broadcast, Sky recorded 2.45 million viewers for the ‘Konferenz’ programme, which is the broadcasting of live action from various simultaneous matches in a single broadcast. The matches were also broadcast on an individual basis by Sky.

Sky announced last week that its ‘Konferenz’ coverage of Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches would be available on a free-to-view basis for two match-weeks when the leagues resume. The matches are being aired on the free-to-view Sky Sport News channel and free via a live stream on the Sky Sport website.