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Bundesliga: DFL in crisis after TV rights sale stopped

Bundesliga: DFL in crisis after TV rights sale stopped

The TV rights auction has been interrupted. The DFL is currently discussing how to proceed. But the severity of DAZN’s allegations does not mean that a quick agreement can be expected.

The Bundesliga is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history. Only shortly after the start of the television rights auction, the German Football League stopped the billion-dollar business.

After a dispute with the internet broadcaster DAZN, the proceedings were ended abruptly. When and how things will continue is currently completely open. There is a risk of lengthy legal disputes.

The dispute between the DFL and DAZN, currently the league’s second-largest partner, arose after the first round of the auction. According to its own information, DAZN submitted the highest offer in the bidding for package B, but should provide a bank guarantee in the short term. As it writes in a letter to the DFL management and the 36 clubs, the company has “issued a tough letter of comfort” as it did in the last tender.

It continues: “Despite this previously accepted position, on Monday, April 15, 2024, in the middle of the tender process, you demanded a very specific bank guarantee from DAZN within 24 hours – an impossible task.” “Bild” and “Frankfurter Rundschau” initially quoted from the letter.

DAZN turns on the Federal Cartel Office

B is the largest package with the games on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and on Friday evening as well as the relegation games. This pack contains a total of 196 live games. DAZN did not win the bidding with Sky on Monday, despite what the company considered to be a “financially superior offer”.

This violates German and European antitrust law, writes DAZN. The streaming company therefore contacted the Federal Cartel Office, which approved and monitored the tender. Apart from package B, according to information from the dpa, no other package was distributed in the following two days.

Earlier in the evening, the DFL refused to comment on rumors about the problems at the auction. Shortly afterwards, management informed the clubs about the interruption. With regard to the DAZN letter, it said: “The insinuations and allegations made herein are inaccurate, baseless and we reject them very clearly.”

“The letter from DAZN Group Limited also contains a number of incorrect representations and shortenings of facts,” write the DFL managing directors. “We will also comment on this to the Federal Cartel Office. DFL GmbH will of course carry out the procedure in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner in accordance with the tender procedures presented to the Federal Cartel Office and the regulations of the tender documents.”

The Bundesliga is now under enormous time pressure because the current contracts expire at the end of the coming season. The league currently earns an average of around 1.1 billion euros per season. The Bundesliga sells its media rights every four years. The auction for the 2025/26 to 2028/29 seasons started this week at a secret location outside the DFL headquarters – and was interrupted shortly afterwards.

Source: Stern

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