Sky Shut Out of Champions League in Germany as DAZN, Amazon Split Rights

TF-Images_Getty Images

The video streamers will divvy up rights to the European soccer tournament in the country starting with the 2021-2022 season.

Leading European pay TV group Sky has been shut out of the European soccer Champions League for the German market, after online sports streamer DAZN Group snatched up Champions League rights in the territory from the 2021-2022 season.

Amazon previously confirmed it had secured a “first pick” of Tuesday evening Champions League matches in Germany. On Thursday, the German media reported DAZN had won the rights to all other games in the tournament. German public broadcaster ZDF will carry the Champions League final match together with DAZN.

DAZN is part of tycoon Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. The group is positioning itself as the “Netflix of sport.” Outside of North America, DAZN operates in German-speaking Europe, Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil. The company currently carries select Champions League matches in Germany, splitting rights with Sky, a subsidiary of Comcast, and Deutsche Telekom.

Sky has been the home for Champions League in Germany for the past 20 years. The DAZN/Amazon deals mark a watershed in sports streaming in the region and follow on Amazon's deal for England's Premier League, for which the online giant secured 20 matches per season for the next three years.

German tabloid Bild, which first broke news of the DAZN deal, quoted Sky Germany boss Carsten Schmidt as saying the company had fought hard for the rights but had not been prepared to pay the high price to win them.

In Germany, a DAZN subscription, costing €11.99 a month ($13.35), significantly undercuts Sky, which charges €39.99 ($44.52) per month for its sports package.

Sky is hardly sports-free in Germany. The company retains rights to Germany's national soccer league, the Bundesliga, as well as the English Premier League, Formula One motor racing and top tennis and golf tournaments.

Sky parent Comcast in September signed a distribution agreement with DAZN to offer the digital sports service to its Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and on Xfinity X1 this fall.