Viewers swarm to Bundesliga; DAZN gets green light
All eyes were on the Bundesliga over the weekend as German soccer’s top tier became the first major sports league worldwide to return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Soccer fans, starved of live action over the last two months, were quick to respond, with over 6 million viewers tuning into coverage on Sky Deutschland, a new record for the pay-TV giant.
According to DWDL.de, 3.68 million viewers watched the matches on Sky's encrypted channels, more than double the usual audience for a typical round of Saturday matches.
Another 2.45 million viewers watched the 'Konferenz' - a simultaneous live broadcast of the five afternoon games, where coverage moves from stadium to stadium - on Sky's free-to-view Sky Sports News channel.
With games being played behind closed doors, Sky took the decision to make the Konferenz widely available.
The Sky Sport News channel is available to customers of Sky TV, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, NetCologne and Unitymedia.
When Saturday afternoon's games kicked-off, Sky Germany had a market share of 27.4 per cent on its pay-to-view channels and 18.2 percent on the free channel.
The return of the Bundesliga was shown by more the 70 broadcasters worldwide, with Fox Sports 1 in USA getting its best Bundesliga audience for the Borussia Dortmund-Schalke clash. FS1 recorded a metered market reading of 0.33 for Dortmund's 4-0 win in the Revierderby, which kicked off at 9.15am (ET).
The ratings for the 12.15pm match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Moenchengladbach match was 0.21, the second best metered for a Bundesliga game on FS1.
Media rights in USA will switch to ESPN from next season.
Also in USA, DraftKings, the fantasy sports betting platform, has acquired non-exclusive rights to live-stream all Bundesliga matches inside its sports betting app. Rival FanDuel already offers such a service.
The agreement was struck in time for Saturday's resumption, with users able to watch matches so long as they have at least $0.01 in their DraftKings betting account. Customers also had to live in a state where DraftKings has launched its mobile sportsbook - New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, New Hampshire, Iowa or Colorado.
DraftKings has also begun offering Bundesliga daily fantasy contests through its separate fantasy app.
The final fixture of round 26 takes place tonight when Werder Bremen take on Bayer Leverkusen (at 8.30pm, CET), and it will now be shown in Germany on DAZN.
The OTT subscription streaming platform presently sub-licenses 45 Bundesliga matches each season from Eurosport, which covers Friday night, Sunday, Monday and play-off games.
DAZN's ability to show the match was in doubt after Eurosport, which originally paid €340 million ($367.3 million) for those rights, did not reach agreement with the DFL, the German league, related to its final €70-million outlay for this season.The DFL said in a statement on Twitter: "The DFL is in talks about other games."