The Premier League is celebrating its new record TV contract. But it was only possible because it pulled a “wild card” – which the Bundesliga can no longer pull
The DFL will sell its national media rights for the 2025/26 to 2028/29 seasons in mid-2024, and the mood is not particularly optimistic. Insiders expect the 36 first and second division clubs to earn less than the €1.1 billion guaranteed per season under the current contract. This makes it all the more painful to look to England.
On Monday evening, the Premier League announced “the biggest sports media rights deal ever in the United Kingdom”. The pay-TV broadcasters “Sky Sports” and “TNT Sports” will pay the equivalent of around €7.8 billion, or around €1.95 billion per season, to the league between 2025/26 and 2028/29.
The current TV contract, which the Premier League signed in 2018 and extended in 2021 on identical terms until 2025 thanks to the British government, had previously seen a significant decline of around ten percent after steady growth. It has now cemented its financial supremacy in the soccer world with an increase of around four percent. How did the Premier League manage that?
Saturday afternoon matches are still not on TV
The decisive factor was a “joker” that other leagues such as the Bundesliga can no longer pull. In the latest tender, the Premier League sold matches that had previously not been broadcast live on TV at all. Among other things, “Sky Sports” secured the Sunday matches at 3 p.m. (CET) and, for the first time, all games on the final match day will be shown in parallel. This means that only the 4 p.m. matches on Saturday, which have never been shown live in England, will remain untouched and will serve as another “wild card” for future contracts.
On the one hand, this means that the league earns billions, even though more than 100 games are still not shown live on TV each season. On the other hand, the increase in the number of live games sold compared to the previous deal was far higher than the increase in revenue at around 35% – meaning that the value of the new TV contract has actually fallen per game. The number of live matches per year had already been increased from 168 to 200 in 2018.
In total, “Sky Sports” will have at least 215 matches per season in its program from 2025, while “TNT Sports” will have 52 – the matches on Saturday lunchtime, which are unpopular with coaches, and two match days during the week. “Amazon Prime”, which currently still broadcasts 20 matches per season, will no longer be involved in the future, partly because the league decided to no longer sell the five English weeks.
While the Bundesliga clubs are also hoping that one of the four major US players Paramount, Netflix, Amazon or Apple will get involved in their new contract, they will no longer play a role in the world’s most lucrative league for the time being.