Bundesliga CEO eyes more lucrative broadcasting deal by changing “no single buyer” rule

28 March 2019

Bundesliga broadcasting rights
Photo: Getty Images The Bundesliga CEO wants changes in the rules surrounding the broadcasting deals. Pictured is former Bayern Munich-player Phillip Lahm.

The chief executive officer of the German Bundesliga, Christian Seifert, questions whether the no-single buyer rule should be changed.

The Bundesliga is set to go to market for the period from 2021/22 to 2024/25, and Seifert eyes an opportunity to make a financial profit on the current deal.

Peter Høyer ph@offthepitch.com

The CEO of the German Bundesliga, Christian Seifert, has in an interview with a German newspaper questioned the league’s no-single buyer rule, which prevents a broadcaster to get monopoly on German football fixtures in the two top leagues.

The legislation was introduced by the Bundeskartellamt, the German competition watchdog, ahead of the 2017/18 to 2020/21 cycle.

"I'm asking a big questionmark as to whether we need a no-single-buyer rule again,” said Seifert, speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

“Due to the technical possibilities in connection with the content strategies of new or existing market participants, there is also enough competition,” Seifert added.

Seifert furthermore said the Bundesliga is seeking an increase on the €4.6 billion deal, or approximately £3.9 billion, it currently brings in from its domestic rights deals, adding that the league wants to ensure that more games from both the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga are shown on free-to-air television.

Good mix between free-to-air and pay-tv

Seifert’s comments came shortly after subscription service DAZN signaled its intention to bid for the Bundesliga’s domestic rights at the next auction. The streaming platform already holds highlight rights to German soccer’s top tier, but according to the media, Soccerex DAZN apparently are looking to add live games to its domestic content portfolio.

“Football in free TV is important not only for the sponsors, who want to have a wide reach, but above all for the broad anchoring of football in society.”

“We have always insisted on a good mix between free-to-air TV and pay-TV,” Seifert said.

According to Soccerex, the no-single buyer rule has attracted widespread criticism for forcing Bundesliga fans to sign up to two pay-TV subscriptions, with the rights currently split between Sky Deutschland and Eurosport, which airs a smaller bundle of games.