Saturday September 30, 2023

Race for Bundesliga Media Rights Tightens As KKR Pulls Out

  • Bidders will get the right to broadcast Germany's 36-team soccer league.
  • The Bundesliga is struggling to compete on the media stage with the English Premier League.
A Bundesliga camera operator during a match
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Donovan McNabb and the State of Football

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September 29, 2023 | Podcast
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U.S. private equity firm KKR has dropped out of the bidding for media rights to German soccer’s Bundesliga.

KKR’s offer was deemed too low, according to Bloomberg, citing sources. KKR, which owns a major stake in German media group Axel Springer, also streams highlights of soccer matches.

Other bidders — CVC Capital Partners, Blackstone, EQT AB, and Advent International — are seeking a 12.5% stake in a unit that will manage the domestic and international TV rights of the country’s top 36 teams, including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Like many sports media rights deals, the outlets have been asked to provide a long-term bid encompassing up to 30 years worth of rights. The Bundesliga is struggling to compete on the media stage with the English Premier League.

DFL, the governing body for Germany’s pro football league, plans to reduce the number of bidders in the next stage. It has also abandoned its previous plan to attract private equity due to opposition from fans and sponsors. 

That plan called for the sale of 20% of the media unit at a value of $19.6 billion.

Top Leagues Flourishing

Top European soccer leagues are eager to cash in on their media rights. 

In December 2021, La Liga secured a $2.1 billion deal with CVC Capital Partners, though top Spanish teams Barcelona and Real Madrid opted out. France’s Ligue 1 sold 13% of its broadcast rights to CVC Capital Partners for $1.5 billion in March 2022.

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Front Office Sports Today

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