Firms roll up for German soccer rights

Interested parties have Nov. 21 deadline for Bundesliga

COLOGNE, Germany -- Some 39 companies have applied to bid for the rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer, the German Soccer League (DFL) announced Friday.

While the league didn't name names, in addition to the regular group of German commercial and public broadcasters, this year's auction also expected to include News Corp. and Disney, with the latter bidding through sports channel ESPN, in which it holds an 80% stake.

On the free TV side, the race is expected to be between public broadcaster ARD and commercial group Sat.1.

Sat.1 could join forces with News Corp., which holds a 25% stake in leading German pay TV operator Premiere, to split the most valuable Bundesliga rights.

Interested parties have until Nov. 21 to submit binding offers, after which the DFL will make its final decision. The league is looking to generate at least 410 million euros ($521 million) per season and wants to sign up partners for deals of up to four years.