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Bundesliga threatens Friday blackout on TV for next season

Bundesliga threatens Friday blackout on TV for next season

© Bundesliga, DAZN, Sky

The answer to the Friday question is clear for the four seasons from 2021 – but not for the coming season. The background is a tough TV controversy that is increasingly becoming a problem for the league.

The late start date for the new Bundesliga season has been fixed, but a TV channel for the Friday games is still missing. The league has been trapped in the Eurosport trap for weeks and has to wait for a verdict from the German Arbitration Institution. The dispute with the US company Discovery and its German subsidiary threatens a loss of many million euros. The league also runs the risk of having to find a new TV partner at short notice.

Eurosport is tired of the Bundesliga, so much is clear in this complicated case. The broadcaster initially passed on the rights package it had acquired from the German Football League to DAZN before the previous season via sub-license – and then asserted a special right of termination during the Corona mandatory break.

“We have a different view of how the contracts are interpreted as Eurosport / Discovery,” said DFL boss Christian Seifert, who is currently on vacation. When asked about the dispute, the media company recently said: “There are currently discussions between the parties involved, on which we do not comment further.” Instead of a decision by the arbitral tribunal, which does not announce a date for its decision, there is theoretically also one Comparison of the disputing parties conceivable.

Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently said about the tough argument in the “Handelsblatt”: “Eurosport was an industrial accident.” In “Sport Bild” he had become even clearer before: “I very much regret the behavior of Eurosport, yes, I find it indecent to cancel a contract in a crisis. “

Less money than planned

Due to the problems in the coming season, the Bundesliga clubs will receive less money than planned – how much less is unclear. “Due to some developments, the 1.35 billion euros will not take place as planned in the coming season,” said Seifert. “1.2 billion euros are the lower end of what it is about.” There is a reduction in any case, since Sky had preferred payments in the past crisis season.

If the DFL wins the arbitration tribunal and has to pay Discovery / Eurosport an estimated 70 million euros as originally agreed, more money is available for the distribution to the 36 professional clubs. On the other hand, if the media company wins the legal dispute, there are fewer – and the DFL must quickly find a new partner who will air for the first time on September 18.

The controversial package includes 45 live games, including 30 games on Friday and five each on Sunday and Monday. It also includes four relegation games and the Supercup. The previous sub-licensing to DAZN was “probably at a loss” according to Rummenigge. The streaming service, which Eurosport also canceled a few weeks ago, is said to have paid just over half of the estimated 70 million euros.

If the Pay TV package needs to be sold again before the start of the season, DAZN is the only interested party. Sky should not bid for antitrust reasons. And Amazon seems to have no interest in the Bundesliga after the experiment with individual broadcasts in the second half of the season. The internet giant held back at least at the rights auction for the four seasons from 2021 to 2025.

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  • Bundesliga_Sky_DAZN: © Bundesliga, DAZN, Sky

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