Eurosport moves for premium football rights

bundesliga Eurosport has made a significant move for premium football rights, securing a tranche of games from the top German Bundesliga championship.

Peter-HuttonThe Discovery-owned sport channel secured the local rights as part of a multi-billion auction for the German football rights, spanning 2017-2021, which saw pay TV heavyweight Sky secure the largest package of games.

The overall value of the rights increased sharply with the latest auction, and the €4.6 billion (US$5.2 billion) deal means the Bundesliga only trails the English Premier League in terms of the value of its TV rights.

Sky had to pay 80% more than in the previous auction to secure its rights, and the cost to the 20th Century Fox-backed platform will be €3.5 billion over four years.

German pubcasters ARD and ZDF have Bundesliga highlights and a limited number of live games.

Discovery has secured 40 live games per season, at a cost of about €400 million (US$452 million) according to the Financial Times, and will transmit Friday night, Sunday afternoon and Monday night games, starting from next season. It will also show the German Supercup.

Peter Hutton, Eurosport CEO (pictured), said: “When you consider our goal is to secure more must-have and highly relevant sport content, Bundesliga rights within Germany and the Olympic Games across the continent are at the very top of the pyramid.   We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the DFL and showcasing football to the highest standards for fans in Germany.”

The pay channel has exclusive rights to these games and will also make them available on its OTT Eurosport Player.

“The 80% increase in Sky’s payment for rights underlines the importance of live league football to pay TV market leadership, and there are obvious parallels with the latest Premier League deal in the UK,” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst, TV programming, IHS Technology.

He added: “Eurosport’s entry in the market for domestic Bundesliga rights is another sign that its parent Discovery is serious about investing in strengthening its rights portfolio.”