Bundesliga Faces Television Rights Battle

The Bundesliga, the German government and pay-TV company Premiere are locked in a three-way batle over the Bundesliga’s exclusive TV rights for the future. The country’s Federal Cartel Office has ruled that highlights from the Bundesliga’s Saturday matches have to be available on free TV soon after the end of the day’s actions and said that the big-money deal between the Bundesliga and Premiere has to be renegotiated. The more highlights that are available on free television, the less money Premiere has to pay for a deal.

The Bundesliga, the German government and pay-TV company Premiere are locked in a three-way batle over the Bundesliga’s exclusive TV rights for the future. The country’s Federal Cartel Office has ruled that highlights from the Bundesliga’s Saturday matches have to be available on free TV soon after the end of the day’s actions and said that the big-money deal between the Bundesliga and Premiere has to be renegotiated. The more highlights that are available on free television, the less money Premiere has to pay for a deal. This means less income on the whole for the Bundesliga’s clubs who split the revenue stream relatively equally. Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has intervened in the debate to argue that the Bundesliga’s lack of financial strength negatively impacts the league’s chances of producing a Champions League winner in the near future.

In the 70s and 80s, before reunification, German clubs, especially the ones from the west, were a regular fixture in European finals. Bayern Munich won three straight European Cup titles from 1974-76, Hamburg SV claimed the crown in 1983, and there were three runner-up finishes. Between 1973 and 1989, German clubs appeared in eight Uefa cup finals. The country was also very successful in the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup, winning five titles (four by the West, one by the East). Since reunification in 1990, there has been sporadic success with two European championships, two Uefa cup victories and two unsuccessful finalists in the Champions League finals (three of those accounted for by Bayern). According to Forbes Magazine’s list of the world richest clubs, five (Bayern, Schalke, Dortmund, Hamburg SV and Werder Bremen) are in Germany, only one less than the total in England.

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