EM.TV has won a E50 million ($60 million) contract to provide production services for live coverage of Germany’s Bundesliga soccer for sports rights upstart Arena.
Arena nabbed the lucrative rights from rival paybox Premiere in December and now faces the ambitious task of setting up a subscription-based pay TV deal, marketing it nationwide and forming distribution deals with other cablers and satellite operators.
Local observers have wondered whether Arena and its parent, regional cabler Unity Media, would be able to meet that objective; the latest move brings them one step closer.
Last month company hired former ProSieben managing director Dejan Jocic to oversee production of the Bundesliga coverage, which Unity is planning to offer in German, English, Spanish and Turkish.
Arena lacks outlets of its own but could tap Unity’s regional pay channels in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse. It would still have to pact with cable companies in other states as well as satellite operators to make its offering accessible to TV viewers. Company is expected to present a plan in coming weeks.
Until now, Premiere has been the sole pay TV platform in Germany. Indeed, some 40% of Premiere customers subscribe to the paybox for its sports offerings. If Arena manages to get its Bundesliga offering on track, it will trigger mass defections of Premiere subscribers.
Premiere topper Georg Kofler has tried and failed to negotiate a sublicensing deal with Arena.