Bloomberg News

Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Buys Rights to German Soccer (1)

October 14, 2013

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. (NWSA:US) signed a multiyear agreement to air German Bundesliga soccer games to viewers in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The agreement begins from the 2015-2016 season and includes rights to all 306 Bundesliga matches each year, including the DFL-Supercup and Bundesliga Relegation Playoffs, according to a statement today from the company and Deutsche Fussball Liga. 21st Century Fox, based in New York, is the entertainment business split off from News Corp. this year.

The rights include coverage of Germany’s richest soccer clubs, including Bayern Munich, which won the elite European club competition last season. The deal is another boost for the country’s top soccer league which is competing with England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga for viewers in new markets.

The agreements are for a five-year term in Asia and the Americas and a two-year term in Europe. The deals cover 80 countries and grant 21st Century Fox exclusive rights to Bundesliga in the Americas and Asia, including India and the Oceania region, as well as Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. No financial details were disclosed.

In 2012, the German league signed a deal with Murdoch’s Sky Deutschland AG (SKYD) broadcaster for rights to show the games in Germany. Sky Deutschland seeks to replicate the success of another unit of 21st Century Fox, British Sky Broadcasting Corp. (BSY), which became the biggest U.K. pay-TV operator with the English Premier League broadcasting rights.

German Final

The profile of the Bundesliga was lifted last season by the fact that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund reached the final of the Champions League, Europe’s top soccer trophy.

The English Premier League generates the most revenue from TV rights among its European competitors, making it the highest grossing domestic soccer league in the world. Germany’s top soccer clubs have said it is difficult to compete as rivals in England and Spain have higher television revenue and aren’t forced to operate profitably.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Schweizer in London at kschweizer1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net.


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