By Paul Kennedy
Fox, without a major European league since the loss of the EPL to NBC and Serie A and Ligue 1 to beIN Sport, has signed a deal with the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) to carry the German Bundesliga, beginning with the 2015-16 season.
GolTV currently carries the Bundesliga but it has struggled to hold its spot on the dial of cable and satellite providers since the launch of beIN Sport, which also carries Spain's La Liga, formerly a GolTV property.
The U.S. deal, which will cover five years, is part of a wider agreement between the DFL and Fox across North and South America, Europe and Asia -- 80 countries or territories altogether -- via 21st Century Fox’s global portfolio of television assets.
The deal includes rights to all 306 Bundesliga matches each year, as well as other DFL properties such as the German Supercup and the Bundesliga relegation playoffs.
Since Fox lost the EPL, Serie A and Ligue 1, it has canned Fox Soccer Channel and moved its soccer programming to the new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. The Bundesliga will fill Friday midday and weekend early-morning programming slots.
Fox will also have digital distribution rights, including the ability to make DFL content available through new and existing authenticated online television services, as well as on mobile devices in these markets.
“Both on and off the pitch, the Bundesliga has grown to become one of the preeminent soccer leagues in the world,” said James Murdoch, deputy COO of 21st Century Fox, in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with the DFL over the next five years to leverage our unrivaled global portfolio of sports channels to bolster the Bundesliga brand in every corner of the globe.”
Sky Deutschland is already a Bundesliga broadcaster in Germany.
“These agreements confirm that the Bundesliga has legitimately evolved to become a top international sports media property," said Christian Seifert, the DFL CEO. "21stCentury Fox is a global-scale partner that provides German soccer opportunities for worldwide exposure and future growth. We welcome these agreements as an expression of faith in the Bundesliga’s continued development over the coming years.”
OTTAWA TO OPEN IN CARLETON.The NASL expansion team in Ottawa will open the 2014 season at Carleton University. The agreement allows Fury FC to play all five home games of the 10-game spring season at Carleton's Keith Harris Stadium while construction of the team’s permanent home at Lansdowne Park is completed in time for the fall season.
Virginia Cavalry FC, another 2014 NASL expansion team, previously announced it is seeking a temporary home while the new stadium it will ultimately share with the minor-league baseball Loudoun Hounds is finished.
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