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Fox Beefs Up Global Sports Brand with German Soccer Pact

Conglom's outlets to carry Bundesliga games in U.S., China, Brazil, Japan and other major territories

A mammoth pact to distribute German soccer games around the world is the latest example of 21st Century Fox’s effort to beef up the sports offerings on its fast-growing Fox Intl. Channels unit.

21st Century Fox unveiled Monday a deal with Deutsche Fussball Liga to distrib popular Bundesliga games in North America, South America, parts of Asia as well as Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. The conglom’s Sky Deutschland is already the Bundesliga’s domestic broadcast partner in Germany.

Deal was announced by James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox deputy chief operating officer, who has broad experience haggling with Euro and U.K. sports leagues from his tenure overseeing BSkyB and the erstwhile News Corp.’s overseas TV operations.

Pact gives 21st Century Fox exclusive rights to the games in the U.S., China (for English-lingo broadcasts), Brazil, Japan, Mexico and other major territories. The Indian market, however, is not included in the five-year deal covering Asia and the Americas. Deals for the Euro territories beyond Germany run two years.

“Both on and off the pitch, the Bundesliga has grown to become one of the preeminent soccer leagues in the world,” Murdoch said. “We look forward to partnering with the DFL over the next five years to leverage our unrivaled global portfolio of sports channels to bolster the Bundesliga brand in every corner of the globe.”

Fox Intl. Channels and Fox Sports are focused on building up their overseas footprint in the sports market, beyond narrowly focused regional rights pacts. “These agreements confirm that the Bundesliga has legitimately evolved to become a top international sports media property,” said Christian Seifert, CEO of Deutsche Fussball Liga.

(Pictured above: James Murdoch, left, and Christian Seifert)

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