Sky Italia extends Bundesliga deal and snaps up Ligue 1 rights
By Tariq Saleh
Sky Italia, the pay-television broadcaster, has today renewed its domestic rights to the Bundesliga, the top German soccer league, and picked up France’s Ligue 1, in multi-year agreements.
Both deals come into effect for the start of next season, with the broadcaster to continue airing the Bundesliga for four years until 2024-25, and to show Ligue 1 for three years until 2023-24.
The deal with the DFL, the German league, also includes rights to the second-tier 2.Bundesliga, the Bundesliga relegation play-offs, and the German Supercup, as well as additional magazines shows featuring highlights.
Sky will provide coverage on its linear channels and on its Now streaming platform.
It will additionally produce a weekly live segment dedicated to the Bundesliga on its ‘EuroShow’ programme on sports news channel Sky Sport24.
Sky will also collaborate with Bundesliga International, the worldwide commercial rights sales arm of the DFL, to create more content opportunities.
The Bundesliga first appeared on Sky in the 2003-04 season, the same year the broadcaster launched in Italy.
The Comcast-owned broadcaster replaces OTT subscription platform DAZN as the Ligue 1 rights-holder in Italy in the latest battle between the two companies.
DAZN has held rights to the French league in Italy since the 2018-19 season.
As well as Ligue 1, Sky will show the Trophee des Champions, the French equivalent of the German Supercup, and offer additional coverage of the league on the EuroShow.
Sky recently lost out to DAZN for the main package of Italian Serie A rights for the next three seasons.
However, it has picked up the rights for Serie B for the same period.
Sky also holds rights to the Uefa Champions League, Europe League and new Europa Conference League clubs competitions for the next three years, and the English Premier League for next season.
In addition, it will show all 51 matches from this summer's delayed 2020 Uefa European Championships.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing contest for Serie A rights, Sky has accused Serie A of issuing an unattractive tender for the as-yet-unsold live package.
The company made the claim as part of its appeal against the league for awarding the lion’s share of domestic rights to DAZN last month.
According to Sky, the final package, for co-exclusive rights to three matches per round, is "an insufficient offer that is neither alternative nor complementary" to those secured by DAZN.
Sky also claims that the package is "clearly devoid of high interest for users".
Serie A issued a new tender for Package 2 of its rights earlier this week after rejecting a previous bid from Sky worth an average of around €87.5 million ($105.8 million) per season.
DAZN landed the bulk of live rights (Packages 1 and 3) to the league from 2021-22 to 2023-24 in a €2.5 billion deal.
The streaming service will show all 10 matches per round, including seven on an exclusive basis.
Sky launched a court appeal against Serie A’s decision to award the contract to DAZN over what it perceives as a disproportionate distribution of audiovisual packages by the league.
It remains unclear if the Comcast-owned broadcaster will submit a revised bid in the new tender process for Package 2, with offers due by 5 May, the same day its appeal against the league will be heard by the court of Milan.
It is thought that Sky is still interested in acquiring Serie A rights but a deal could be complicated by its legal action against the league.
In an effort to quickly conclude a deal, Serie A has lowered the minimum asking price for the package to €150 million per season, down from the €250 million it was seeking in the initial tender.