Bundesliga: TV rights dispute between DAZN and DFL is getting hotter

Bundesliga: TV rights dispute between DAZN and DFL is getting hotter

The TV rights auction is interrupted after a dispute. Now DAZN believes it has solved a problem. The DFL sees it differently. The sound becomes sharper again.

The dispute between the German Football League (DFL) and the internet broadcaster DAZN is entering the next round – and the tone is getting sharper.

In the dispute over the interruption of the TV rights auction, DAZN says it has met the DFL’s crucial demand. From the league’s perspective, submitting a bank guarantee subsequently has no effect. The media company sees this completely differently and sharply rejected the DFL statement from Wednesday evening.

The sales process for the audiovisual media rights of the Bundesliga was stopped after the first day on Monday a week ago. What was controversial was the lack of a financial guarantee that DAZN was supposed to provide in the bidding. On Wednesday morning, a company spokesman told the German Press Agency: “We now have the required bank guarantee.”

According to the league, however, this has no influence. In response to a dpa request, the DFL said: “The rights package B for the rights period 2025/26 to 2028/29 was awarded on April 16th in accordance with the auction rules known to all interested companies. The basis was the offers submitted up to that point, including the accompanying documents. A Submitting documents after a rights package has been accepted in accordance with the auction rules has no effect.”

DAZN sees things completely differently, as a spokesman emphasized in the evening. “We must emphatically reject the DFL’s statement that rights package B for the rights period 2025/26 to 2028/29 was awarded according to the auction rules known to all interested companies. The DFL made demands to DAZN that had previously been met by all parties The auction rules communicated and coordinated with the Federal Cartel Office were simply not in place and are completely disproportionate.”

DAZN put it sharply: “This obvious violation of its own auction rules deprives the entire tender process of the legal basis. We are firmly convinced that this will also be confirmed by the Federal Cartel Office or an arbitration court if the DFL does not correct its mistake immediately. In any case, DAZN is ready to talk.”

According to dpa information, DAZN offered around 400 million euros annually for package B – i.e. 1.6 billion euros for the rights period. Calculated over this four-year period, the offer is said to have been around 250 million euros more than the competition. B is the largest of the seven live rights packages 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.

In the league’s opinion, a bank guarantee comes too late

The bank guarantee now in place is intended to be valid for around 200 million euros annually, as requested by the DFL on Monday a week ago – but in the league’s opinion it comes too late.

DAZN did not win the contract on the first day of bidding, despite the “financially superior offer,” as the company said in a letter to the 36 professional clubs. Sky was reportedly awarded the contract, but does not want to comment on it. The DFL also does not confirm the contract for Sky. The league and DAZN had accused each other in letters to the professional clubs the previous week.

According to its own information, DAZN initially submitted “a tough letter of comfort” – as was the case with the last tender four years ago. However, that wasn’t enough for the league. A bank guarantee is issued by a bank to cover a customer’s debts. A letter of comfort is a promise from a third party to cover the liabilities of a person or organization.

“The DFL has not made any formal errors in the current auction process,” said the league’s letter to the clubs: “The allegations from DAZN are incorrect and are rejected by the DFL.” The league did not provide any information on how to proceed on Wednesday.

The global Internet broadcaster, whose headquarters is in London, could now appeal to an arbitration court by April 30th in a next step. In the letter to the clubs, the company stated that it reserved the right to take legal action.

DAZN also commented on speculation that it had recently not regularly met the financial obligations of the currently valid contract. “DAZN always paid within the agreed payment deadlines with the DFL,” said a company spokesman. The DFL did not want to comment on this.

Source: Stern

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