From 2021, the live broadcasts of the Champions League will run until the final on the Internet – at DAZN and Amazon. However, the network is weak in some regions of Germany.
As of next year, there will be no way around football fans past DAZN. The fee-based Internet provider has secured by far the largest rights package for the Champions League from the 2021/22 season. For three seasons, this includes 121 out of 137 live premier-class games as well as the Supercup, the conferences and the highlight reporting. Since Amazon also bought 16 games for its Prime streaming offer, the Champions League games – except for the final – only run on the Internet. This could be problematic for some soccer lovers.
The streaming service DAZN, which has only been active since 2016, outdid the established pay-TV provider Sky in the bidding for the Champions League rights and had already secured 106 Bundesliga games on Friday and Sunday from 2021. The Internet provider thus has an offer “that will make us the new number 1 for all football fans in Germany,” said Germany boss Thomas de Buhr.
For 11.99 euros a month (or 119.99 euros a year), sports fans can get a wide selection from DAZN, according to their own statements, 8,000 live sports broadcasts per year. On the other hand, it becomes rather confusing for the viewer. To have free choice of live broadcasts of the European Cup and Bundesliga games, four different subscriptions will be required from 2021 onwards.
It also becomes problematic for people whose internet is insufficient. DAZN mentions 6 megabits per second as the recommended minimum speed for use in HD resolution on a TV. Although this is a slow pace compared to the super-fast gigabit lines, it is not available nationwide in Germany. Networks are sometimes slower, especially in rural areas.
According to the broadband atlas of the federal government, the availability of landline lines with a speed of over 6 megabits per second is included in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate 75 to 95 percent. For most of the country, more than 95 percent are reported.
The internet problem applies to DAZN and Amazon. The US Internet giant is the new player in the sports market and had surprisingly secured the respective top game for its paid streaming service Amazon Prime on Tuesday evening. The live package comprises a total of 16 games, two of which are playoff games.
The offer on free-to-air television will in future be greater than this season and in the coming season. The finals 2022 to 2024 will be shown on ZDF. According to information from the German Press Agency, the second also wants to show summaries on Wednesdays from 2021 – but confirmation is still pending.
Anyone who wants to have free choice in addition to the Bundesliga at DAZN and Sky and the Champions League at DAZN and Amazon also at the other European Cup games will need a fourth subscription soon. The RTL Group has secured a package with 282 games from the Europa League and the new Conference League. Some games are to be shown free to air on RTL and Nitro, but most run on the in-house streaming service TV Now.
The big loser in rights poker is Sky. The pay-TV broadcaster has been showing games in the Champions League since 2000, initially under the name Premiere, but that will end after the final in 2021. Only in the coming season Sky and DAZN will split the broadcasts of the games in the Champions League according to a complicated key.
After all, Sky secured an extensive rights package for the Bundesliga for the seasons 2021/22 to 2024/25. The long-term partner of the German Football League then shows 200 point games per season on Saturday.
[Michael Rossmann, Claas Hennig und Andrej Sokolow]
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