The governing body of Germany’s top two football divisions, the DFL, is looking to a radical plan of starting an OTT subscription service, with more than 20 different private equity groups interested in providing investment.

The news, first reported by the Financial Times, points to two key moments of transition that football is undergoing:

  • Football leagues are tapping into a rich new source of revenues from selling digital subscriptions.
  • Investors have a rare opportunity to get involved in the beautiful game, as leagues have needed extra funding due to match postponements during the spring lockdown.

As a WARC report from February suggested, the digital world was already encroaching on pay-TV’s hegemony. In 2019, Uefa European football’s governing body was reported to be considering setting up a streaming service to get past traditional channels unwilling to stump up the funds.

For the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL), alongside the OTT plan, which is currently aimed at markets across the Middle East, there is also the opportunity to find a minority investor in a digital media company that will sell international rights to the Bundesliga and data services.

The Bundesliga wouldn’t be the first to seek some digital reprieve from a difficult market. In June, it was announced that the remainder of the Italian and Portuguese 19/20 top flights would be shown on the results website LiveScore’s free OTT service in the UK alongside existing TV deals in the territory.

While it is quite new for the TV-dominated world of European football, American sports have been wrestling with the challenge for some time, especially in international markets. As WARC wrote about the NFL recently, some of its UK streaming offers are a key strategic pillar that will introduce non-paying viewers to an eventually paid offer.

Sourced from the Financial Times, SportsPro Media, WARC