Streaming services DAZN and Amazon have edged out Sky in the battle for Champions League broadcasting rights in Germany. What does it mean for fans in the stadium and at home - and is German broadband even fast enough?
German football supporters have long been vocal critics of the influence of television broadcasters in the game, protesting against Monday night fixtures and the ever-growing number of kick-off times for the benefit of TV viewers.
Following the latest allocation of Champions League broadcasting rights in Germany though, those fans watching at home are also going to have to adjust as football consumption habits continue to evolve.
As of the 2021/22 season, Europe's premier club competition will only be available via DAZN and Amazon. The online streaming services outbid Sky, which has failed to secure any UEFA broadcasting rights in Germany for the first time in almost 20 years.
London-based DAZN is already an established player, having first acquired German broadcasting rights for the English Premier League in 2016. It has also been showing Champions League and Europa League football since 2018.
This season, it has begun broadcasting live Bundesliga matches for the first time, showing the 30 Friday night games throughout the season as well as the five Sunday lunchtime kick-offs.
Under the new Champions League deal, DAZN will show the majority of games in Germany, although the biggest game of the week, likely with German involvement, will be on Amazon's video service (Amazon Prime).
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The retail giant is making its first foray into football broadcasting this season after acquiring the rights to two English Premier League matchdays, including the traditional Boxing Day fixtures on December 26.
Its acquisition of German Champions League rights represents another step in the evolution of televised football - and it isn't cheap.
Television fans in Germany will now need three separate subscriptions if they want to have access to every Bundesliga and Champions League fixture between 2021 and 2024.
Sky's Bundesliga package currently costs €24.99 ($27.80) per month for the first 12 months for new customers (€49.99 per month thereafter), while DAZN costs either €11.99 per month (including one month free and monthly cancellation) or €119.99 for a year's subscription. Add Amazon Prime for another €7.99 (including 30 free days) and fans could be looking at a total of nearly €70 a month. Extrapolated over a nine-month football season from September to May, that's €630 – more expensive than the cheapest seated season tickets at any Bundesliga club, and three times more than most standing season tickets.
Of course, for those supporters whose clubs compete internationally, Champions League games aren't included in the price of a season ticket, nor are domestic cup games. But even a Borussia Dortmund supporter who watches every home game in all competitions from the Yellow Wall in the first half of this season – a total of 12 games – will only have spent €177.
Is Germany ready?
Cost won't be the only problem for Germany. Streaming live football requires a fast internet connection, which, incredibly, isn't always a given in Germany.
According to a recent study by Germany's Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), almost 30 percent of Germans have to make do with speeds less than half of that which companies promised in their contracts as the government has consistently failed to meet its own targets. Indeed, according to the German government's own data, less than half of households in some rural areas have access to 50 megabit broadband.
But with DAZN and Amazon carving up rights at the expense of Sky and the traditional public and terrestrial broadcasters, the prevalence of online streaming services is only set to increase.
Ironically though, given the cost and the lack of infrastructure, it may be easier and cheaper to just go to the game.