June 21, 2020 / 2:48 PM / 24 days ago

Soccer-Bundesliga set to get lower price for domestic TV rights

MUNICH, June 21 (Reuters) - Germany’s Bundesliga will on Monday award domestic broadcast rights for the four seasons from 2021-22, with the value likely to decline from the previous agreement.

Pay TV broadcaster Sky, owned by U.S. group Comcast Corp , is expected to remain the main client, with sports streaming service DAZN also picking up the rights to a large number of matches, according to sources close to the matter.

Amazon, which has streamed some Bundesliga matches after the season resumed behind closed doors, is not believed to have played a major role in the bidding.

The contracts will be closely watched as they are the first major soccer rights auction to be completed since the novel coronavirus disrupted action in Europe’s top leagues.

The current four-year deal, which runs until the end of next season, was worth 4.64 billion euros ($5.2 billion), an 85% jump from the previous agreement. It covers TV, radio and online rights to matches played by the 36 clubs in the top two German divisions.

A source close to the matter said the rights were expected to be worth around 4.3 billion euros under the new deal. German soccer magazine Kicker put the figure at between 4.2 and 4.4 billion euros.

The Bundesliga was the first of the major European leagues to return to action after the disruption caused by the coronavirus. Bayern Munich have just been crowned champions for an eighth successive season.

Playing matches behind closed doors is a double-edged sword for broadcasters. On the one hand, supporters rely on the screenings to watch their team but the empty stadiums mean the vibrant match-day atmosphere is missing and the games are less of a spectacle for armchair fans.

$1 = 0.8949 euros Reporting by Alexander Huebner Writing by Keith Weir Editing by Christian Radnedge

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