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Sky Deutschland sets Bundesliga pay-TV audience record

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scores a penalty during Bundesliga win over Hertha BSC (by Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)

Sky Deutschland has reported record pay-television viewing figures for the weekend’s action from the Bundesliga, the top tier of German club football.

The third round of fixtures in the 2020-21 season drew a combined total of 5.67 million viewers on Saturday and Sunday across television and online streaming services Sky Go and Sky Ticket.

This represents the strongest audience for the Bundesliga on Sky across pay services only. The figures have only been eclipsed when a free-to-air offering was provided, most recently when Sky Sport News provided game coverage during the 27th round of the 2019-20 season.

Saturday’s Konferenz show – the broadcasting of live action from various simultaneous matches in a single broadcast – set a new season record with 2.06 million viewers across linear television, Sky Go and Sky Ticket.

An audience of 1.85 million viewers for live coverage of Bayern Munich’s 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin represented the second-strongest audience for a Sunday game on Sky. Only last season’s match between Bayern and RB Leipzig eclipsed it.

The Bundesliga in May became the first major European league to resume its 2019-20 season amid the Covid-19 pandemic, returning strong domestic audiences for Sky. Five Bundesliga matches kicked off at 3:30pm (CET) on May 16, attracting 3.68 million viewers for the different coverage offered by Sky.

Of the total audience for the 3:30pm broadcast, Sky recorded 2.45 million viewers for the Konferenz programme.

The Konferenz coverage was shown on Sky’s free-to-view Sky Sport News channel (and via a live stream on the Sky Sport website) and the matches were also broadcast on an individual basis on Sky’s pay-television channels. Sky made its Konferenz coverage of Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches available on a free-to-view basis for two matchweeks when the leagues resumed.

In June, the German Football League (DFL) agreed new domestic broadcast deals for the forthcoming 2021-25 rights cycle worth €1.1bn ($1.3bn) per season, slightly down from the €1.16bn per season it currently receives.

The key live rights packages of the Bundesliga have been shared between Sky and subscription OTT streaming service DAZN. Sky also won rights to all matches from the 2. Bundesliga. Sky acquired rights to 200 live matches per season, including all matches on Saturdays and midweek on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. DAZN acquired 106 live Bundesliga matches per season, including all matches on Fridays and Sundays.

Under the current domestic rights contracts, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, Sky exclusively broadcasts 266 live Bundesliga matches per season.