After the failed investor deal, the DFL is looking for new sources of money. Income should be increased in the difficult national and international marketing environment. The resale of the Bundesliga rights to the TV broadcasters from the 2025/26 season plays a central role in this.

According to information from “Sport Bild”, one plan is to make the first division top game on Saturday evening more attractive – and thus more expensive – for pay TV. Possible consequence: the end of the ARD sports show at 6.30 p.m.!

So far, the top game on Saturday evening at 6.30 p.m. on Sky runs parallel to the summary of the afternoon games in the sports show (also from 6.30 p.m.). The TV viewers have to decide where they tune in – a kind of self-cannibalization of the Bundesliga. The sports show had an average of around 3.65 million viewers in the past season.

The top game could now be moved to 8:30 p.m. So far, the Saturday evening game of the 2nd division on Sky and Sport 1 has occupied the place – with decent ratings. The DFL bosses are also hoping for this in the top game, especially since it would no longer compete with the big Saturday evening family shows that were common in the past. Consequence: The second division game on Saturday evening would have to be brought forward to 6.30 p.m.

The alternative plan: The top Bundesliga game will continue to kick off at 6.30 p.m. – but the sports show should no longer start at the same time. The first free TV summary would only be possible from 7.15 p.m. (until 8.15 p.m.). In addition to ARD, private broadcasters such as Sat.1 could also be considered here.

But: The program, which was shortened to one hour, would be difficult to refinance through advertising. Only twelve minutes of commercials are allowed per hour.

A possible solution: instead of the ARD sports show, a free Internet Bundesliga program that would probably have significantly fewer viewers and would therefore make the 6:30 p.m. live rights more attractive and expensive.

In the end, the TV stations and their financial bids decide on the top game and the sports show. So far, ARD has paid around 110 million euros per season for its rights package – 70 million of which for the sports show games. The 6:30 p.m. game alone is worth 200 million euros to Sky. The price would have to rise sharply here so that the DFL would “sacrifice” the secure millions in sports shows.

Another incentive: So far, top clubs are only allowed to play a maximum of eight times on Saturday evenings per season. This should be increased to ten to twelve times in order to offer more attractive encounters.

What else could change from 2025/26? This is revealed by the tender documents for the next four-year cycle, which the DFL sent to the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn for examination and which the specialist magazine “Spobis” first reported on:

► There will be no more “English weeks”, which are unpopular with the fans.

► The winter break will be shortened by one week.

► To relieve the European Cup participants, five additional games are to be played on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. So far there are ten relief games per season.

► The Bundesliga game on Friday evening at 8.30 p.m., which was previously sold in a separate package (to DAZN), will be included in the Saturday game package at 3.30 p.m. (previously Sky).

► The sole employment ban (no single buyer rule) should be overturned. So far, Sky (Saturday games) and DAZN (Friday evening and Sunday games) have shared the pay-TV rights. In the future, a broadcaster should again be able to buy all live rights – an advantage for fans who no longer need multiple subscriptions.

According to “Sport Bild” information, further innovations are planned to make the live games even more attractive for the pay TV stations:

► Short interviews with players and coaches upon arrival at the stadium on the way from the bus to the dressing room.

► Half-time interviews, as they were last at the Ice Hockey World Cup in the third breaks.

► “Keyhole” moments from the cabin wing. However, it is not (yet) planned that the TV camera will be allowed into the locker room immediately after the end of the game, as in the US professional leagues.

One thing is clear: this additional content should primarily be provided by the top clubs with stars and large fan bases such as Bayern, BVB or Frankfurt. But they should also be able to pay extra for the extras after the failed investor deal with the new TV distribution key.

The article was written for the sports competence center (WELT, SPORT BILD, BILD) and first published in SPORT BILD.