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GolTV Renews Key German League Rights

10/31/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Hybrid soccer service GolTV has scored a
renewal with one of Europe’s top leagues and is nearing
an extension with another cornerstone circuit from South
America.

Last week, GolTV netted
a new deal with
DFL Sports Enterprises
for rights to Germany’s
top soccer circuit,
the Bundesliga, for three
more seasons. At press
time, the service, which
presents its expansive
soccer coverage in both
Spanish and English, was
closing in on a Brazilian
league renewal.

The contract conclusions
come as GolTV has
scored advertising and
distribution gains during
2011.

The Bundesliga deal,
financial terms of which
were not disclosed, gives
GolTV multimedia rights
to the German league in
the U.S. and Canada for
the 2012-13, 2013-14 and
2014-15 seasons. Its current
pact is set to expire
at the end of the 2011-12
campaign.

“This is our third renewal
with the Bundesliga;
they’ve been with
GolTV almost from the
beginning,” chief operating officer Rodrigo Lombello
said, noting that two other U.S. programmers made bids
for the German league’s rights.

Lombello noted that the Bundesliga’s appeal among its
non-Hispanic viewers is also an important component for
GolTV: “Naturally, there
is some overlap. But, the
Bundesliga draws mostly
a different audience
for us,” he said.

With a global fan
base, the Bundesliga
comprises 18 teams,
including such notable
clubs as FC Bayern
Munich, FC Schalke 04,
Borussia Dortmund,
Werder Bremen and
Bayer Leverkusen.

Under the current
deal, GolTV has been
airing three matches
per weekend and
sublicenses two others
to ESPN Deportes
and broadband service
ESPN3.com. It also airs
ancillary fare like Hallo
Bundesliga
and Goal!
The Bundesliga Magazine,
which are produced
by DFL.

“We selected GolTV
because of its large and
loyal viewership,” said
Joerg Daubitzer, managing
director of DFL
Sports Enterprises.

At press time on Oct.
28, Gol officials said they were closing in on a new contract
for the Brasileirão and Campeonato Paulista circuits
in Brazil. Th ey were also continuing to negotiate
for an extension with Colombia’s La Liga Postobon.
GolTV, whose contract with La Liga ends in mid 2012,
declined comment on where it stood in renewal discussions
for Spain’s top circuit.

Since the end of 2010, Gol has increased its sub base
to 15 million from 13 million, due to additional rollouts
with current affiliates and a launch on Suddenlink’s
sports tier in September.

“We’re still growing on the English side between 15%
and 20% per year,” Lombello said.

Although Gol is very highly penetrated among Hispanic
households, it upgraded with Cox’s system in
Phoenix, where the network’s Spanish-language feed
is now part of the operator’s news and information tier.

Cox also recently rolled out GolTV’s video-on-demand
offering, comprising highlights shows from
La Liga and the Bundesliga; Verizon FiOS also will
launch it in November. The telco and Cox join Comcast
and Cablevision in presenting the net’s on-demand
fare.

The added reach is translating on the advertising
front. Lombello said Gol has been buoyed by incumbents
like Volkswagen and the U.S. Army, increased
spending from telco AT&T, and insurance companies
Allstate and State Farm. Meanwhile, the company has
registered new business from Sprint and Procter & Gamble.
Spanish multinational bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya
Argentaria, the title sponsor of BBVA La Liga, has also
committed to a schedule in 2012, Lombello said.

September