Bundesliga given billion-dollar Premiere billing in three countries

German pay-TV network Premiere has secured the rights to broadcast Bundesliga football on a pay-per-view basis in Germany, Austria and Switzerland until 2013.

Bayern Munich, one of the Bundesliga's star teamsLength of contract: 4 years | Annualised value: US$330m | Overall value: US$1.3 billion

German pay-TV network Premiere has secured the rights to broadcast Bundesliga football on a pay-per-view basis in Germany, Austria and Switzerland until the end of the 2012/13 season.

The deal, which covers live matches and highlights on satellite and cable television as well as online, will cost the network approximately US$330 million per season, beginning at US$300 million for 2009/10 and rising to over US$366 million in 2012/13.

The expenditure follows a US$600 million bail-out of Premiere, underwritten by shareholders News Corporation, necessitated by a fall in share price - reportedly triggered by the admission that the network had overstated its subscriber numbers - and a US$447 million quarterly loss.

News Corp, which also owns Sky Sports, the dominant force in football coverage in the UK, owns 25 per cent of Premiere. Other shareholders include Mediaset, owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and owner of AC Milan.

Premiere has shown live Bundesliga football since launching in 1991, and also broadcasts UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup matches.

The increased cost of the new deal was attributed to the suspected interest of ESPN in acquiring the rights. In fact, ESPN had only bid for the less valuable Bundesliga 2 rights.