Gone are the days when Champions League games were shown on TV for free. Sky and DAZN demand money. Which subscription is worthwhile?
Dhe German soccer fan will be put to the test this year. He suffered in the first half of the year because the Bundesliga clubs did worse in European competitions than they did in a long time. Then in the summer he watched with horror as the national team suffered a historic defeat at the World Cup in Russia. And now that the fan is looking forward to the new season in the Champions League, he also has to say goodbye to a cherished habit. Football on free-to-air television – the days are over. If you want to see top German clubs and international top stars from next Tuesday, you have to pay for it.
For years, German football fans were pretty spoiled. From 2012 to the final last spring, ZDF offered the European premier class in miniature: a live game on Wednesdays, if possible with the participation of a Bundesliga club, and at the end the final on a Saturday.
But now a new era begins. The pay-TV channel Sky has once again secured the rights to all Champions League games for the next three years up to the 2020/21 season. However, it no longer shares the broadcasts with the public ZDF, but with the DAZN streaming platform. The rights were simply too expensive for ZDF.
It is difficult to keep track of the program
It will be difficult for football fans to keep track of the program in the future. On the one hand, there will be new kick-off times in the group stage in the future. Two matches on each day of the match start at 6:55 p.m., the remaining six at 9 p.m., a quarter of an hour later than usual. The distribution of who is broadcasting which game from the two providers is even trickier. Sky and DAZN have worked out a complicated “picking” process that is difficult to penetrate. Only the semifinals and finals are broadcast by both providers in parallel.
For football fans, this means that they cannot watch all the games of their favorite club live on the same provider. A fan of FC Bayern Munich can hardly ignore the Sky offers: The pay-TV shows five of the six group games of the German record champions live in full length. In addition, Sky can choose the most attractive game on nine of the twelve game days in the knockout round – presumably it will be the one in which FC Bayern is involved.
Borussia Dortmund fans are also well served by Sky with four group games. The games of the other two Bundesliga clubs, FC Schalke 04 and TSG Hoffenheim, can be seen in full, especially at DAZN. Excerpts of this can also be seen in the live conferences that Sky shows every game day, or in the summaries at midnight on Sky Sport News HD.
Sky attracts with promotional prices
The question will be what the Champions League is worth to the German audience. The consulting firm PwC recently published a survey on this. According to this, 59 percent of Germans would never pay extra for sports on television. After all, one in five would spend money to be able to follow a live event – an average of 15 euros a month. The current prices are lower for both Sky and DAZN. DAZN generally charges 9.99 euros per month for Internet television.
For the money there is not only the Champions League, but also top European leagues. DAZN is therefore particularly interesting for those football fans who want the broadest possible range. The streaming platform also broadcasts four times as many Champions League games as Sky and also all the Europa League games in which Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig take part.
Meanwhile, Sky attracts viewers with promotional prices. If you take out a TV sports package subscription now, you only have to pay € 9.99 for the first three months, and € 14.99 per month for the rest of the first year. In the second year of the contract, the regular price of 29.99 euros per month is due. No subscription is required for the “Supersport” Sky Ticket. A monthly ticket normally costs 29.99 euros. It is currently available for a day ticket of 9.99 euros and is valid for three months. Like the DAZN subscription, the Sky Ticket can be canceled on a monthly basis.
The pricing policy of the pay TV broadcaster confuses many customers. Especially those who have terminated their regular contract and who Sky wants to win back with more and more new and cheaper offers. “This type of pricing policy can only be compared to haggling in a bazaar,” says one who recently canceled his expensive Sky subscription.
If you don’t want to pay anything for the Champions League, you will in the best case be able to watch a game live: the final on June 1st in Madrid. Should one of the German participants get that far, the final would not only be broadcast on Sky and DAZN, but also on free-to-air television. As before.