OneFootball is new Brazilian home of Bundesliga in Sportfive-facilitated deal
By Simon Ward
German soccer’s Bundesliga is going down the streaming route for the distribution of comprehensive live coverage of matches in Brazil in the 2020-21 season onwards having entered a distinctive arrangement with digital platform OneFootball.
Under a three-year deal brokered with the input of Sportfive, the international sports marketing agency that is the broadcasting rights partner of the DFL, all matches from the top-tier Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga will be available for free to Brazilian fans on the OneFootball app.
The agreement secured by DFL subsidiary Bundesliga International comes into effect for the new season starting on Friday and includes the German Supercup, with Bayern Munich to play Borussia Dortmund in the 2020 edition at the end of this month.
Sportfive and OneFootball will jointly manage the marketing of all advertising around the matches.
The DFL still plans to offer one match per round of Bundesliga fixtures to a Brazilian linear broadcaster, and commercial network Bandeirantes has been linked with this package.
With the new broadcasting model, OneFootball is building on its already strong connection with German soccer, based on its tie-up with pay-television operator Sky Deutschland for the top two divisions and the DFB Pokal, the knockout cup competition.
OneFootball offers Sky’s live coverage of the competitions on its app on a pay-per-view basis in Germany in a distribution deal that came into effect for the 2019-20 season, and has been renewed for the upcoming campaign.
Until now, the Bundesliga has been showcased in Brazil by Fox Sports under a five-year, 80-territory deal with the international broadcaster, which expired at the end of last season. Fox Sports is now owned by US media giant Disney, and the Brazilian channels are being integrated with those of ESPN.
Ahead of the new cycle, Latin America, together with Southeast Asia, has been a priority market for Bundesliga International, and the innovative solution in Brazil ensures extensive coverage of the league in a part of the world where it has a large following, with multiple players from the country having turned out for German clubs over the years. Latterly, these have included Philippe Coutinho at Bayern Munich and Matheus Cunha (pictured) at RB Leipzig.
In a statement, Robert Klein, the chief executive of Bundesliga International, said: “The Bundesliga has long been associated with driving innovation in football and this agreement with OneFootball, in collaboration with Sportfive reiterates our commitment to utilising technology for the good of fans globally.
“There is a rich history which ties together German and Brazilian football and, through this partnership, we can ensure that Bundesliga remains an important part of the footballing culture. With the OneFootball app, the Bundesliga is freely available and with highly entertaining football, world class players and more goals per match than any other major European league, this partnership is another step we are taking to reach more fans throughout Brazil.”
In an uncertain economic climate, but with increased adoption of live streaming and non-traditional coverage, Brazil is proving to be a fertile ground for new broadcasting models in soccer.
In other developments this week, Conmebol, the South American soccer confederation, is launching Conmebol TV, a new Brazilian subscription channel offering live coverage of matches from the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, the pan-continental clubs competitions.
The channel, being rolled out in partnership with Band, is now available on the Sky and Claro pay-television platforms, at a price of R$39.90 ($7.56) per month.
Acclaiming its free-to-view coverage of the Bundesliga, Lucas von Cranach, the chief executive and founder of OneFootball, said: "We continue to democratise football. Bringing freely available matches from one of the biggest leagues in the world to Brazil, where football is the most popular sport, is really exciting for us. By energising the traditional sports media landscape and bringing the action directly to Brazilian fans, for free and easily available at their fingertips, we’re another step closer to becoming the ultimate football destination for a new generation.”
Nikolaus von Doetinchem, president media at Sportfive, added: “Within this ever-changing media landscape and evolving content consumption behaviours, we are proud of this contemporary and innovative broadcasting model. Our hereby implemented ‘digital-first approach’ in the end leads to extensive value for all involved stakeholders and creates an enormous platform, suited for the attractiveness, power and international reach of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga."
Elsewhere in the Americas, the Bundesliga has a new broadcasting partner in USA, with ESPN replacing Fox in a six-year deal that entails extensive live coverage on OTT streaming service ESPN+, and the league has continued to fill in the picture in the Far East, yesterday announcing deals with PPTV HD 36 in Thailand, StarHub in Singapore and KBS in South Korea.