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Bundesliga

Rupert Murdoch buys further Bundesliga broadcast rights

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has increased its stake in German football by buying the rights to televise the Bundesliga in about 80 countries. The multimillion-dollar five-year deal begins in 2015.

Sky Deutschland already holds the rights to both the Bundesliga and the second division in Germany. Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 54.5 percent stake in the broadcaster. The company increased its stake in the German broadcaster to surpass 50 percent earlier this year.

Now, in a substantial widening of its portfolio, 21st Century Fox plans to broadcast games in the Americas, Asia and other countries in Europe as of the 2015-16 season.

Neither 21st Century Fox nor the German Football League (DFL) revealed how much the deal was worth. A source close to the negotiations, however, told news agency Reuters the sum would likely double the DFL's income from the sale of broadcast rights to foreign markets to around 140 million euros ($190 million) per year.

"The figures emphasize that the Bundesliga is now recognized as elite media rights in international sports business," said Christian Seifert, Chairman of the DFL. "Working with a global partner allows German football opportunities for global awareness and business growth."

Taking the Bundesliga abroad

The agreement covers all countries in the Americas, as well as most of Asia. It also allows 21st Century Fox to televise games in the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium for two years.

It ties in with Sky Deutschland's local rights deal agreed last year, worth an estimated 1.94 billion euros and running until 2017.

"We look forward to working with the DFL and will take advantage of our unique range of sports channels to bring the delight of the Bundesliga world to an even larger audience," 21st Century Fox Deputy Chairman James Murdoch said.

The DFL has successfully pushed in recent years to extend the global reach of Germany's top domestic league. Earlier this month, the top-of-the-table clash between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen - which ended in a 1-1 draw - was broadcast live in a league-record 204 countries around the world.

ph/msh (Reuters, SID, dpa)