Bundesliga bosses weigh options

BERLIN. – In the battle for TV rights, Bundesliga bosses say German football will have to look at new kick-off times in order to compete with the English Premier League – at the risk of alienating fans.

The English Premier League’s new multi-billion pound television rights deal is causing concern in German football that the Bundesliga’s leading teams will no longer be able to compete against their English rivals.

Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert says the league may now have to consider “unpopular options” if it is to improve marketing opportunities.

This could include changing kick-off times and spreading the weekend league programme to cover a Monday evening kick-off.

Bayer Leverkusen sports chief Rudi Voeller is just one club manager who believes a change in fixture times could help attract more television income.

“I could imagine that Monday evening is a possibility,” he was quoted as saying in yesterday’s Bild newspaper.

“The time is attractive and would be good for TV, but in principle Saturday should be our main match day.”

The new English Premier League agreement is worth 5,14 billion pounds for three seasons from 2016-2019, with broadcast rights shared between British broadcasters Sky and BT Sport.

Bundesliga clubs in comparison will receive 835 million euros for the 2016-2017 season when the current four-year deal worth 2,51 billion euros then expires.

So far German football – which has much cheaper ticket prices than the English Premier League and has the world’s highest match attendances – has been against staggering the fixture programme.

Six of the top-flight matches are played on a Saturday with five starting at the traditional 3:30pm kick-off time, and one game played at 6:30pm. Two matches (occasionally three) are played on Sunday and one is on Friday evening.

Amateur clubs, backed by the German Football Federation (DFB), had originally opposed the Sunday afternoon kick-off, which was introduced from the 2009-2010 season.

“There should be no more taboo issues,” Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs said.

“Until now we have always managed the balancing act of fulfilling the wishes (of TV) but keeping the match programme compact. But there should also be compromise.”

Borussia Moenchengladbach sport director Max Eberl said the league would have to consider “breaking with tradition” in order to stay competitive.

“We can’t stay fixed on our beloved 3:30 pm (kick-off) but have to make concessions, otherwise the gap to England is going to get bigger,” he said. – AFP.


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