Mogel to secure Bundesliga broadcast rights
Teutonic media mogul Leo Kirch is reportedly close to obtaining a bank guarantee from Austria’s Raiffeisen Zentralbank needed to secure broadcast rights to top league Bundesliga soccer from the German Football League.Last year, the league agreed to award control of the rights to Kirch’s Sirius SportMedia in return for a guaranteed e3 billion ($4.3 billion) income over six years beginning in 2009. The deal is contingent on a bank guarantee for the $4.3 billion, which is to be presented by the end of the month. Kirch had been negotiating with Commerzbank for the funds, but talks ended last week after it came to light that Kirch had appointed the brother of Commerzbank exec Martin Blessing, Ulrich Blessing, as Sirius’ managing director — an embarrassing conflict of interest. According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Kirch and Raiffeisen are expected to ink the deal in coming days. Kirch’s agreement with the league includes production and licensing of ready-to-air Bundesliga coverage, an offering meant to attract bids from small pay TV platforms that are unable to produce their own sports coverage. German paybox Premiere, which largely depends on the Bundesliga to attract and maintain subscribers, is battling the plan and has filed a complaint with the country’s antitrust watchdog.