German watchdog blocks Pay TV-only soccer

But approves joint marketing of rights

BERLIN -- The German Cartel office has approved, in principle, Leo Kirch’s plan to jointly market the TV rights to Germany’s premiere soccer league, the Bundesliga.

But the state media watchdog has warned it will block any attempt to move soccer exclusively to pay TV. This is bad news for German pay TV group Premiere, which relies on Bundesliga soccer to draw subscribers and had hoped to secure exclusive rights for the upcoming seasons.