April 14 – For the first time, Germany’s cartel office has approved a plan to stop any one single pay-TV broadcaster from buying up live television rights for top-flight games, mirroring the UK where Sky and BT Sport share Premier League live coverage.
The watchdog said that from 2017-18, German football would need to ensure that the rights to between 30 and 102 league matches out of 306 were sold to an alternative buyer.
Such a ruling will effectively mean that Sky Deutschland will be unable to acquire all domestic pay-TV rights for live Bundesliga fixtures whether on cable or satellite.
“We have focused on rulings which ensure that more than one single contender will acquire the live rights in the end,” Andreas Mundt, president of the Cartel Office, said. “With only one live rights holder in the market, there is the danger that competition for innovation – in particular from internet-based offers – is limited.”
“As the experiences from other countries, for example the UK, show, such a model does not lead to consumers requiring more than one subscription to watch all games in most cases.”
The green light by the Cartel Office opens the door for a new bidding war. At the last tender in 2012, Sky Deutschland ousted Deutsche Telekom.
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