Soccer-Bundesliga signs tv deal with 21st Century Fox

Reuters

* German league to get bigger global audience as part ofdeal

* Five-year contract starts in 2015

BERLIN, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The Bundesliga has signed afive-year global broadcasting agreement with 21st Century Fox,the German league said on Monday, as it seeks to broaden itsinternational exposure and close the gap on England and Spain.

The deal, starting from the 2015-16 season, will see matchesfrom the top two German divisions broadcast in every country innorth and Latin America, a majority of countries in Asiaincluding Japan, as well as selected European territories.

"These deals underline the fact that the Bundesliga has beenrecognised as a top media right in the sports business world,"said German football league (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert in astatement.

"The collaboration with global partner 21st Century Foxgives German professional football new chances for wide globalreach and growth in the near future."

The deal includes the United States, Brazil, Japan,Indonesia and Thailand but not India or the Indian subcontinent.

For China, the rights can be used in English languageprogramming.

The contract for the territories in Europe - Italy,Netherlands and Belgium - runs for two years to include the2015-16 and the 2016-17 seasons.

The DFL currently earns about 70 million euros ($94.94million) from international media rights for the Bundesliga andthe new deal with Fox covers about 80 markets worldwide.

The DFL can expect to double their foreign media rightsrevenues due to the Fox deal and several other contracts, withSeifert having targeted between 100-150 million euros for thenext rights period.

"The Bundesliga has, on and off the pitch, developed into aleading global football league," said James Murdoch, 21stCentury Fox deputy COO.

"We look forward to working with the DFL and will use ourunique offer of sports broadcasters to attract an even biggerglobal audience to the Bundesliga."

Neither the DFL nor Fox released any financial details ofthe agreement.

HIGHEST ATTENDANCE

The Bundesliga has been experiencing a financial boom in thelast few seasons with record attendances, growing televisionrights revenues, including from international deals, while alsoenjoying success on the pitch.

Turnover rose to over two billion euros in 2011-12 from onebillion euros in 2001-02.

The top-flight clubs posted a combined profit after tax of55 million euros and a total turnover of 2.081 billion euros in2011-12, up 7.2 percent from 1.94 billion in the 2010-11 season,the DFL has said.

Treble winners Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund postedtheir best ever results in the past fiscal year.

The Bundesliga also enjoys the world's highest averageattendance per league game with over 44,000 spectators in the2011-12 season. The English Premier League is in second placewith 34,000.

On the pitch, Bayern beat Dortmund in an all-German final ofthe Champions League - Europe's premier club competition - lastseason. Four German teams are competing in this season'stournament.

The Premier League is the world's richest soccer league interms of television revenue and outperforms its Spanish andGerman rivals when it comes to selling overseas.

Sales of rights around the globe have inflated totaltelevision revenues for the 20-team league to an estimated 5.5billion pounds ($8.77 billion) over the next three years.

In comparison, the Bundesliga's top two divisions generatedmedia revenues of just over 653 million euros for the 2011-12season, up from 593 million in 2008-09.

Italy could also be close to a multi-billion euro deal for asix-year rights contract, according to local media. Reportssuggest the deal could bring in as much as 900 million eurosannually.

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