Frankfurt - Largely unchanged match schedules and broadcasting windows on the one hand, opportunities for additional innovation on the other: At a press conference in Frankfurt/Main today, DFL Deutsche Fussball Liga announced the key parameters of the tender for national media rights covering the 2017/18 to 2020/21 seasons.
This tender includes media rights in Germany for all Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches, the Supercup and the relegation play-offs. DFL plans to award the rights prior to the start of the EURO 2016 in June of this year.
The regular match schedule in effect since 2009 will remain largely unchanged over the upcoming rights period. The coming period will see live rights enhanced through additional exclusivity while maintaining a near-term and the most comprehensive free-to-air coverage of any top league in Europe. As requested by the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, FCO), the tender will also include a so-called No Single Buyer Rule, meaning that no one bidder will be able to acquire live rights across all transmission technologies.
DFL CEO Christian Seifert commented: "This tender offers media companies an excellent opportunity to fascinate viewers and build their loyalty with attractive programme content. This process places tradition and innovation in balance with the necessity to secure economic growth and the future of professional German football at a top European level. Our goal is to further strengthen the institution of the Bundesliga – on the pitch, economically, and with a view to the millions of fans watching at home or in the stadiums."
The tender concept introduced today will see the regular match schedule remain largely unchanged for the coming four years, making for a total of twelve years without significant adjustments up to 2021. For sporting reasons and in light of the balance of interests between amateur football on the one hand and traveling fans on the other hand, an additional five matches per season on Sundays and five further matches per season on Mondays will be introduced. In addition, one Bundesliga 2 match is to be moved from a Friday to a Saturday kick-off. To help fans and media partners better plan in advance, there will only be two match days per season with midweek matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Eight live rights packages and nine non-live packages, with rights-holders for the first time have the opportunity to exploit their rights across all distribution channels. The central live packages especially will be enhanced with attractive additional rights such as in-match clips, gastronomy rights and highlight coverage of all Bundesliga matches. Comprehensive and timely free-to-air coverage on Saturdays and Sunday is still possible from 18.30 hrs or respectively from 21.15 hrs. For the first time ever, the tender will also include a Monday evening free-to-air highlights package featuring all weekend Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches.
The reservations of the FCO regarding the possible acquisition of all live-rights by one single buyer will be taken into consideration with the introduction of the 'No Single Buyer Rule'. This means: Should a single buyer buy all the live rights packages of the Bundesliga, a so called Over-the-Top package (OTT package) will be made additionally available. This will comprise three live games per match day (one on Saturdays, two on Sundays) for platform-exclusive use via Web-TV and Mobile distribution channels. This means that the final offerings will be determined by the competition: Some Bundesliga matches will be available either via all technologies, or via Web-TV and Mobile distribution channels from a second service provider. This regulation is designed to take into account the current circumstances in the German media market. The FCO had given the green light for the present tender model on 11 April 2016.
With regard to the auction process, the same general rules as in the 2012 tender will apply for live rights. During the first step, the so called reserved price auction, the DFL will determine reserved prices for all rights packages. These will not be announced in public nor will they be announced to the interested parties, however the FCO will be informed of these in advance. Should the highest offer for a tender package meet or exceed the determined reserved price in the first round of bidding and the second highest bid is more than 20 per cent below the highest bid, the League Association Board will accept the highest bid in question. Should this not be the case, the package in question will be open to a second round of bidding.
If it should come to a second round of bidding, the DFL will determine reservation prices that will also not be announced in public. Should bids come in for rights packages that meet or exceed this reservation price, it will depend on how high these bids are. The highest bid will be accepted if the second highest bid is more than 20 per cent less than the highest bid. Otherwise it will be up to the discretion of the League Association Board to make a decision on which bid to accept.
There will only be one round of bidding for highlight rights. However the same rule will also apply: if the highest bid meets or exceeds the reservation price or the second highest bid is more than 20 per cent less than the highest bid, this bid will be accepted. If there are several bids within the 20 per cent margin, the League board of directors will decide on which bid to accept.
Interested parties who meet the admissions criteria are entitled to put in their tender bid providing they have handed in their complete documentation by 19 April. This will also mark the end of the registration phase. The final approval to award the rights will be determined by a decision made by League Association Board, which must be confirmed by the member’s assembly of the 36 clubs involved. The general public will be informed once media contracts have been approved by the member’s assembly of the League Association in a press conference about the tender results.
In addition to the audio visual tender, the audio rights for Germany covering seasons 2017/18 to 2020/21 were put out to tender. This offering mainly comprises packages for the Broadcast and Netcast distribution channels. The decision to award these rights will also be made by the member’s assembly of the League Association.