Germany’s antitrust regulator said on Tuesday that it was investigating whether Sky Deutschland's streaming deal with DAZN to air Champions League matches was "in accordance with competition law," according to Douglas Busvine of REUTERS. Sky Deutschland is owned by Sky, which was taken over by Comcast in a $40B deal. DAZN, part of Len Blavatnik’s Perform Group, is positioning itself as the "Netflix of sport." The German Federal Cartel Office said in a statement announcing the investigation that Sky acquired rights from UEFA to broadcast all Champions League games from '18-21. It then reached an agreement with DAZN to share the slate of matches, meaning that starting this season, no Champions League games can be watched on terrestrial TV in Germany. Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said, "We are investigating whether and in what form the cooperation between the two companies was agreed, and whether it has served or hindered the interests of consumers" (REUTERS, 10/16). ADVANCED TELEVISION reported as Germany's leading pay-TV provider, Sky is "potentially subject to particular restrictions under competition law when cooperating with competitors." The agreement between Sky Deutschland and Perform "could contribute to further consolidation of Sky's market position." Several matches of German and other clubs are now exclusively available OTT, and "there is no more free TV broadcasting of Champions League live matches in Germany" (ADVANCED TELEVISION, 10/16).
UEFA has "diplomatically stepped into the debate" over U.K. football's traditional Saturday afternoon broadcast blackout being breached by saying that it is "in talks with the English and Spanish leagues following reports that online streaming service Eleven Sports is defying the rules," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Eleven has this season been offering La Liga games at 3:15pm on Saturdays to U.K. viewers "despite a ban on the broadcasting of live football" between 2:45pm and 5:15pm. UEFA is trying to resolve the issue, which "could be construed as restraint of trade," as "delicately as possible." A UEFA statement said, "We are in contact with the English and Spanish FA on the matter even if no official complaint has been lodged yet by the English FA." Eleven is owned by Andrea Radrizzani, who also owns League Championship side Leeds United, and has the U.K. rights to Serie A (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/16).