Germany’s top two divisions have sold their domestic media rights for 4.6bn euros (£3.8bn), almost double their previous deal.
The deal covers four seasons from 2017-18 and is an 85% increase on the amount raised by the same rights in 2013.
Rupert Murdoch’s Sky kept its strong grip on live rights to German league soccer for four more years in an auction that raised 4.64 billion euros (£3.8 billion), an increase of 85 percent on the current deal.
“I am happy with the sum,” Bundesliga Chief Executive Christian Seifert told a news conference on Thursday after the auction for media rights from 2017-2021.
Revenue was likely to exceed 1.5 billion euros in the final season once international rights and proceeds from two as yet unsold packages were included, he added.
“The Bundesliga is now perfectly placed to remain one of the world’s three strongest soccer leagues in terms of revenues and to present sport at the highest level,” Seifert said, indicating the deal would help German clubs to compete with rivals from Spain and England.
Sky will pay an average of 876 million euros per season compared to the annual figure of 486 million euros it pays for all the live TV rights in its current deal.
“This means Sky Deutschland is the undisputed home of football through to 2021 in one of Europe’s most passionate sports markets,” said Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch.
Shares in Sky, which has 4.5 million subscribers in Germany and Austria, added 2.8 percent, indicating investors were pleased that the company would still be able to show live soccer every weekend.
“The group now has visibility into the 2020s across virtually all of its main content groups,” said Citi analyst Thomas Singlehurst, rating the stock a “Buy” and pointing out that 876 million euros was barely 15 pct of the group’s programming budget.
Sky won six of eight packages available for live TV games and will screen 572 matches a season from Germany’s top two divisions.
New auction rules prevented any broadcaster having a monopoly of live coverage and mean U.S.-owned Eurosport will be able to show some live action for the first time in Germany.
Expanding after its takeover by U.S. media group Discovery Communications last year, Eurosport won a package of Friday games, some games on Sunday and Monday, as well as the season-opening Supercup and relegation play-off matches.
German public-service broadcaster ZDF also won some live rights. Fellow public broadcast group ARD kept the rights to be the first to broadcast highlights of games, securing the future of its flagship “Sportschau” Saturday night show.
The Bundesliga is Europe’s second-richest league after the English Premier League, which secured a record 5.1 billion pounds ($7.4 billion) for domestic rights for the three years from 2016-2019 from Sky and recent market entrant BT.