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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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German Football League Abandons Outside Investment After Protests

  • Bundesliga rethinks $1 billion media rights plan.
  • Fans used remote-controlled airplanes and cars to air their grievances.
German protests
Inaki Esnaola/Getty Images

Months of protests have given fans in Germany their way. 

On Wednesday, the German Football League (DFL) announced it was backing out of a plan to sell a stake worth up to $1 billion in its media rights to an outside investor. The DFL, responsible for the Bundesliga and its second tier, abandoned the idea despite a majority of interest in pursuing it. Bundesliga’s board made the decision not to go forward. CVC Capital Partners, a private equity investor, was believed to be the outside investment as it was the lone remaining prospective buyer. The DFL was offering a 20-year piece of sponsorship and broadcast revenue in exchange for an upfront payment. 

“A successful continuation of the process looks impossible given the current developments,” DFL board spokesperson Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

Fans’ protests have caused major delays in games, from throwing chocolate coins onto the field to attaching bike locks to goalposts. Remote-controlled cars and airplanes have also been used for protests. 

The Bundesliga trails only the English Premier League in revenue among Europe’s soccer leagues and has been looking for ways to increase income for a while, so Wednesday’s development was viewed as a disappointment. Private equity investor CVC Capital Partners was the lone remaining prospective buyer.

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