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DFL in legal dispute with Eurosport over television rights contract

Eurosport reportedly wants to axe their television contract with the DFL.

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SpoBis 2017 - Day 1 Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Football in Germany still has the potential to return to action this month in the Bundesliga and 2. Liga, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the corona crisis has taken its financial toll on a bevvy of clubs within the DFL. The Champions League clubs from the Bundesliga had already donated their UEFA television rights money to a collective pot to be used for teams in desperate need of funds, but that money has already been used up. To make (economical) matters worse, per a new report by Tz, Eurosport wants to terminate their current television contract with the DFL, not only for the remainder of this season, but also next season.

If Eurosport winds up terminating their television rights contract, the Bundesliga could face additional losses of up to 70-million Euros. This would be on top of all of the money that most clubs have already lost during the pandemic. Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke are both in favor of finishing the season with Geisterspiele and not waiting until June to do so, if it’s deemed safe enough by the German government and appropriate health officials.

Rummenigge had previously said that games without spectators moving forward is “without alternative” at this point and that “the goal of the DFL is to end the season by June.” He also warned that “Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund would probably survive the [the economical damages] but many other clubs would not.” Watzke echoed Rummenigge’s stance when he said “if it will only be played in June, then you can forget it right away” in a recent interview with Der Spiegel. “We still have nine games to play, we still have relegation games and then the DFB Cup too. And we also have to expect that a game will be cancelled,” he continued.

Hertha BSC - Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-1 Photo by Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

In addition to the pressure for Geisterspiele matches to finish off the season as soon as possible, Eurosport now faces a legal battle from the DFL. Per Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Eurosport had assigned coverage for Friday night Bundesliga matches to streaming service DAZN through a sub-license, which began during the 2017/2018 season. Eurosport has to pay the DFL 80-million Euros each year, and normally gets 40-million from DAZN, but during the pandemic, all media partners have stopped making payments due to no matches being played. This is the main reason why Eurosport wants to terminate their contract with the DFL, but they still owe a large sum of money to the Bundesliga for this season.

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