Basketball - 17 Jun 2014 - By Martin Ross
Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga has found a new broadcast rights partner after Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms giant, acquired the rights to show all matches live for the next four seasons.
The telecoms group, which launched its ‘Entertain’ IPTV service in 2006, has acquired the national and international rights to the league, and will show all 306 games per season from the regular season, along with the play-offs, finals, All-Star Game, the BBL Pokal, the German national cup tournament, and the Beko BBL Champions Cup, the annual match between the Basketball Bundesliga and BBL Pokal winners.
The agreement marks the first time that all Basketball Bundesliga matches will be shown live, while the league is still on the lookout for a free-to-air rights deal.
Sport1, the German sports broadcaster with free-to-air and pay-television outlets, held the rights to Germany’s top-tier basketball league until the end of the 2013-14 season, and its latest agreement covered the production and broadcast of at least 50 games per season on its various platforms.
Jan Pommer, the BBL’s managing director, said that the league is ‘utterly convinced’ that the new broadcast rights agreement is the right step in order to attract more people to the sport of basketball in Germany.
The agreement represents Deutsche Telekom’s most significant move in the acquisition of sports rights since it held live rights to German soccer’s top-tier Bundesliga.
Deutsche Telekom offered all Bundesliga matches on its ‘LIGA total!’ service during the last contract period, but rival Sky Deutschland, the pay-television broadcaster, left the telecommunications giant empty-handed after acquiring the multi-platform rights from 2013-14 to 2016-17 across cable, satellite, web-television, mobile and IPTV platforms for an average of €485.7 million ($659 million) per season.
Deutsche Telekom customers will be able to watch all Basketball Bundesliga matches on television, PC, tablet devices and smartphones, while basketball fans without a subscription will be able to pay to watch matches on digital platforms.
The production of the Basketball Bundesliga matches will be handled by a team assembled by the Basketball Bundesliga. All games will be produced in high definition and with a minimum of four cameras, with a minimum of six cameras to be used at top matches and a highlights programme also to be produced.
In April, the Basketball Bundesliga began its invitation to tender process, initially offering five package of rights for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons only.
The Sportsman Media Group, the Munich-based sports marketing agency and Sport1 had been among the other interested parties.
In 2012, the Basketball Bundesliga renewed its deal with Sport1 and also added Kabel Eins, the German television network owned by the ProSiebenSat.1 group, as a new broadcaster in an initial one-year deal to show up to 10 games per season on Sundays, with a particular focus on games involving FC Bayern Munich.
Ahead of the award of the rights in 2012, Pommer said that the league had been in in talks with five broadcasters: not only Sport1 and ProSiebenSat.1, but also Sky Deutschland, the pay-television broadcaster, Deutsche Telekom and Eurosport Deutschland, the German arm of the pan-European broadcaster.