Regulator nixes Kirch soccer compromise

$4.4 bil soccer deal focused on digital broadcasts

MUNICH -- The German cartel office on Friday gave another thumbs down to a compromise offer by media mogul Leo Kirch and the German soccer league the DFL to salvage their 3 billion euro ($4.4 billion) marketing deal.

The conflict centers around free TV reporting on weekly Bundesliga soccer matches. Sirius and the DFL, reacting to the cartel's negative comments about "insufficient consumer participation" foreseen in the deal, proposed that a half-hour highlights show be aired at 7:30 p.m. to replace the current 90-minute "Sport Show" on pubcaster ARD -- but solely in digital format.

"A digital broadcast ... would only penetrate about 40% of German households," a cartel office spokeswoman said in explaining the decision to Germany's business daily Handelsblatt. "That in itself would be enough to discount the idea of 'sufficient consumer participation.' "

Sirius could not be reached for comment.
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