Digital television network, StarTimes is set to become the exclusive broadcast sponsor of the Bundesliga in Nigeria and the rest of the sub-Sahara Africa beginning in the 2015/16 season.
The deal leaves former broadcast partner SuperSport out in the cold, unable to re-secure a relationship that had been in place since 2010. At the time South African owned SuperSport was Africa’s leading pay broadcaster, reaching over 3.9 million subscribers in more than 50 countries. Since then the network has been eclipsed by the growth of StarTimes, a Chinese satellite television provider, operating in the continent through its StarSat brand.
Jorg Daubitzer, managing director of Bundesliga marketing subsidiary DFL Sports Enterprise Gmbh, underlined the importance of the broadcaster’s rapid growth to the league’s decision. “It was important for us to close the deal with StarTimes because the platform offers us the opportunity to reach millions of homes we didn’t reach before in this football-crazy continent. We see kids all over Africa playing at every available space and it is only fitting that we provide an opportunity for them to see one of the best football leagues in the world.”
The deal comes amid the opening of a new chapter in the Bundesliga’s quest for aggressive growth. Despite increasing name recognition over the past few years, particularly following the all-German Champions League final of 2013, the Bundesliga has yet to see the level of bumper deals enjoyed by the likes of their English and Spanish rivals. The difference in commercial interest was starkly highlighted earlier this year as the Premier League announced a domestic rights deal that represented four times the value being received by German clubs.
Things maybe set to change though with several new rights deals coming online, most notably distribution throughout North and Latin America through Fox Sports for five years beginning in 2015/16.