Deutsche Telekom's Stiegenroth Says Company Puts Pursuit Of Sports Rights 'On Ice' For Now
German telecoms company Deutsche Telekom Sports Marketing Head Henning Stiegenroth said the company has put the pursuit of sports rights “partially on ice” after losing its Bundesliga IPTV rights to Sky. Deutsche Telekom, which holds the league’s IPTV rights until the end of the ’12-13 season, has already reached an agreement with German pay-TV network Sky to air Sky’s Bundesliga broadcasts on its “Entertain” packages starting with the '13-14 season. Stiegenroth said, “The agreement with Sky means our customers will still to be able to watch the Bundesliga, as well as Champions League, Europa League and DFB-Pokal (German Cup). We will offer Sky’s channels in our product.” This summer, the Deutsche Telekom will bid for all live Bundesliga broadcast rights for the first time. However, it not only was outbid for the live-TV rights, but also lost its IPTV rights for the rights period ’13-14 to ’16-17. Stiegenroth said, “We were seriously bidding for the rights and wanted to acquire them. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, as Sky was awarded with the live TV rights, which are for now directly in Sky’s possession until 2017.” He added: “The topic is therefore, from our point of view, partially laid on ice. We will see in 2016 how we will continue.” Asked about U.K.-based telecoms company BT’s plans to launch its own sports channels in June and compete with BSkyB, Stiegenroth said: “We were ahead of BT with our LIGA total! [Bundesliga] channel, which will continue to broadcast the Bundesliga until the end of the season.” But Telekom has no immediate plans to launch new sports channels or bid for sports rights.