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DAZN: What’s next in the billion-dollar TV dispute with the DFL?

DAZN: What’s next in the billion-dollar TV dispute with the DFL?

The German Football League did not award the largest TV rights package to the pay channel DAZN, even though it offered the most. Now an arbitration tribunal will decide the dispute. That’s the situation.

The billion-dollar dispute between the German Football League (DFL) and the internet broadcaster DAZN, which has been raging for days, will be legally clarified following the latest escalation. DAZN has contacted the German Institution for Arbitration (DIS). A spokesman for the global company based in London and the DFL confirmed this to the German Press Agency on Wednesday. After violent attacks and mutual accusations, this is intended to bring about clarification in the dispute over TV rights for the Bundesliga.

What is the dispute about?

DAZN and DFL are fighting over a bank guarantee. The increasingly heated dispute broke out after the DFL awarded TV rights package B for the 2025/26 to 2028/29 seasons to the pay-TV provider Sky two weeks ago, according to dpa information. Competitor DAZN claims that the DFL rejected its significantly better offer because a bank guarantee requested at short notice could not be obtained within one day. According to its own information, the DFL legally awarded the disputed package. The league association explained that DAZN’s offers did not comply with the tender. Rights package 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. It includes a total of 196 live games.

Why is the dispute now going to arbitration?

This step is provided for in the DFL tender documents in the event of a dispute and was accepted by all bidders. When registering for the auction of the audiovisual media rights of the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga, DAZN also committed itself to contacting the DIS in the event of legal disputes. The broadcaster has now taken this step.

How does a DIS procedure work?

As a rule, the parties to the dispute appoint an impartial and independent arbitrator for the proceedings. These two in turn select a presiding arbitrator together. The three-member arbitration tribunal is intended to ensure an amicable resolution of the dispute. If this is not possible, it decides like a regular court. This arbitral award has the effect of a final judgment between the parties.

How long does the clarification take?

There is no fixed time frame. Arbitration proceedings usually take less time than proceedings before state courts because they are only conducted in one instance. However, it will likely take several months. The DFL dispute with Discovery/Eurosport over missing millions in payments lasted almost half a year in 2020.

What happens after the verdict?

DAZN has already threatened to exhaust all legal means in the dispute with the DFL. “The legal process can take years, starting with a lawsuit before an arbitration tribunal and possibly through several instances before German civil courts, if necessary with the involvement of the European Court of Justice,” said the company spokesman. However, DIS decisions can only be appealed before ordinary courts due to formal violations.

What are the chances of the plaintiff DAZN?

It’s difficult to estimate, but a bank guarantee is definitely anchored in the tender documents. This is what it says in the rules accepted by all bidders, as several people involved explained to the dpa. Accordingly, the league can only waive the bank guarantee upon request. According to reports, she did this in the last tender four years ago with several companies and broadcasters, including DAZN.

What does the DFL say about the arbitration proceedings?

The DFL currently no longer wants to comment. The previous week she had stated that she was “well positioned” for the procedure. “In the interests of speedy procedural and legal certainty, which is in everyone’s interest, the DFL expects that all parties involved accept an arbitration award as final and conclusive,” it said.

Source: Stern

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