Forty-five companies have
registered to bid for rights to broadcast top-flight German
football league matches, an auction tipped to fetch a record 450
million euros a season.
The DFL league said its board would decide on February 16 which
of the 45 would be allowed to take part.
"I assume that the number of approved bidders will be
significantly lower; possibly, it will be at only 19 or 20," DFL
head Christian Seifert told journalists on Thursday, without
naming any of the companies.
The auction, which is due to start on April 2, will include
various packages allowing companies to broadcast football matches
for four seasons from 2013/14 on television, the Internet or
It might also pit pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland
, the current owner of the live cable rights, against
Germany's biggest phone company, Deutsche Telekom.
Phone companies such as Deutsche Telekom and Britain's
Vodafone have branched out into providing TV content
over German phone lines, challenging cable TV companies such as
Kabel Deutschland and Liberty Global's
Deutsche Telekom owns the online TV rights to Bundesliga and
has said it will consider bidding for satellite rights, too.
But Sky Deutschland, whose main draw is the Bundesliga,
needs those rights because about half of its three million
subscribers tune in via satellite.
Also, the 250 million euros it has been paying per season
has put a strain on its finances, and analysts have voiced
concern it could not afford a bidding war with Deutsche Telekom.
Vodafone has also said it is looking at rights for
internet-based TV and mobile devices, and internet group Yahoo!
Inc plans to bid for rights to show online highlights
The Bundesliga's first division is the top league in the
world by attendance, drawing more than 42,000 people per league
game, according to DFL. The Bundesliga's 18 clubs generated
almost two billion euros in the 2010/11 season.
A person close to the DFL had said on Wednesday that
auctioning the rights could raise as much as 450 million euros a
year, up from 412 million in the last auction three years ago.
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