A short review and a look on the TV-Rights situation
(Click on 'The Bundesliga FAQ' for an index of the 2-monthly updates)

How and on which channels are the matches broadcasted in Germany? An introduction into the German TV market
How did the 18 Bundesliga clubs perform 1998/99? A short review

How and on which channels are the matches broadcasted? 
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 Posed one or two years ago this question might have had a quick answer. But the dynamic movement that has come into it requires a detailed introduction of the several agents with various interests, who run the game. Let's start in the close past... 

 The Bundesliga has yet been organized by the German Football Association, the DFB. Such the DFB also had negociated the TV rights for Bundesliga, the association cup ('DFB-Pokal'), the matches of the German national team, and the European cup matches with the exception of the Champions League which has been marketed by the marketing agency TEAM for UEFA.  
 The TV market in Germany looks as follows: There are the two big public stations ARD and ZDF (ARD consists of several regional stations). Those are financed by a monthly charge of about 15 EURO (1 EURO is about 1$), every TV-device owner has to pay. They are controlled by commitees who consist of representants of several society groups including political parties. They are only allowed a limited time of broadcasting commercials on weekdays before 8 p.m.. 
 Then there are several private stations. The most important of them are controlled by two big players: German media zsar Leo Kirch and media trust UFA/Bertelsmann. Leo Kirch conquered the market when private TV arrived by buying then cheap movie licences at the right time. He controls more than the allowed two stations using several constructions including family bounds. The biggest two stations are RTL (Bertelsmann/UFA) and SAT1 (Kirch). 
 Another important station in our case is 'Premiere', the only meaningful pay-TV station yet. Both, UFA and Kirch, had owned shares here, but UFA has sold its part. For a monthly charge of about 30 EURO it is possible to receive 'Premire' decoded, otherwise you only see an encrypted picture. (Estimated 2.5 million subscribers).
 Added have been now some digital channels ('Premiere digital' and 'DF1'), also belonging to Kirch, and also receivable by paying a monthly charge and a monthly rent for a decoder (if you do not buy one). Kirch seeks to install the digital system by using football as a vehicle and to gain complete control over that market.  

 The Bundesliga also likes to have the digital system installed. Bundesliga clubs want to artificially cut access to matches on unristricted TV and later sell matches via pay-per-view as an 'enlarged virtual stadium' (this of course already exists in any live coverage, only that the clubs here do not ask for your money directly). 
 With the coming two world cups 2002 and 2006 for which a Kirch agency has bought the rights (and FIFA has sold to them), the German football fan will most likely be blackmailed to subscribe to those systems in what form ever or being locked out of live action (apart from the most important matches which should be free). 

 Today's situation has yet been ensured by the fact that all rights have been sold as packages. A quasi cartel consisting of the football side, the TV stations side, and politics has guarantueed the absence of a free market. The argument of the football side has been the community factor. All teams and the whole football were wished to profit from the package selling. This would keep lower teams competitive and Bundesliga more attractive. 
 A role also has played ties between Leo Kirch, the conservative CDU and CSU parties, and some football officials who are in their majority closer to the above mentioned political side. The common objectives (digital TV) played its part. 

 So the contracts had been nicely distributed to all the important players on the market: ARD/ZDF had got the National team, the association cup and some meaningless European (non-champions-league) cup matches, RTL (UFA/Bertelsmann) the Champions League and some more important European cup matches and SAT1 the rest and the 'free-TV' Bundesliga rights. The word 'free-TV' is misleading here. The consumer pays the price indirectly via the price of the products advertised. 
 Those Bundesliga rights have included 5 live matches in the entire season and the right to start showing short summaries bout 45 minutes after the matches have terminated. Such a summary usually is about 10 minutes long, but substracted all the off-pitch pictures, interviews, and slowmotions, the live action is cut down to about 3 minutes. 
 The pay-TV channel 'premiere' has had the right to broadcast 3 matches live each weekend, 1 of those only on its digital channel. 
 And the German sports-channel DSF, also a Kirch station, has televised a 2nd Bundesliga live match each Monday night. 

Then the following things happened: 
- the begin of examination of the TV rights system by courts and the European commission  
- an independence movement of the big European clubs 
- a third big player, the Australian media mogul Murdoch, seriously tries to enter the German private TV market 

 The first thing that broke down was the European cup package selling after a German court decision. Now every clubs sells its own rights. Now more constellations are possible what does not necessarily mean an improvement for the viewer: Before already all matches (with one exception in the past) had been accessible via free-TV.   

 Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are among the big European clubs who have started to pressure their interests against the associations. This has not only lead to an enlarged Champions league format, it also has made a split among the Bundesliga clubs more dramatic. Their only common goal is to be more independant from the association DFB. 
Bayern and Dortmund, more and more eyeing an European market, want an individual TV rights marketing for Bundesliga.  Even better for them was a compromise which would leave the 'free-TV' part as a package and such would guarantuee that not more Bundesliga live-matches are available on free-TV. This would make the other rights packages even more valuable. Alltogether the clubs should make the most money this way.  
 But the other clubs fear the gap that might open up between them and the giants. Also it seems unclear what kind of 'arrangements' have been dealt out between TV players and particular football officials. 
 UFA/Bertelsmann/RTL, trying to avoid a price explosion for the new Champions League format, lost the rights by a tactical mistake. They did not expect Rupert Mordoch to enter the market although it was widely known that the Australian had sought entrance to the German market for some time and finally found a weak station where he could by a majority: tm3, a  channel which had had initially targeted women. 
 In a surprise act tm3 bought the rights for the next years and although yet wiothout any sports staff, the sation will start to broadcast Champions league in two months. 
 This leads to the following situation: 
The Bundesliga 'free-TV' rights contract with SAT1 will run until 1999/2000. But with the arrival of a new player (Murdoch/tm3) and the loss of important other rights for another (Bertelsmann/UFA/RTL-Champions League) another boost in the price and such a 'design as wished' of the TV program by the football officials (more bidders than sellars) seems likely. 
 If not the European commission rules on the TV rights otherwise. If it sees a cartel in the situation leading to a disatvantage of the consumer, the whole thing could explode in a different direction. 
-Free-TV-rights per year 1997-2000: 90 million EURO for the Bundesliga. 

The pay-TV rights contract with 'Premiere' seems to be tricky. Without the approval or knowledge of the clubs it contains a passage after which the TV station has options until 2003. Whether stupidity or personal 'ties' led to such a contract is unclear, the big clubs know investigate how to get out of the contract to make a selling of individual pay-TV rights possible. 
-Pay-TV rights this year: about 75 million EURO for the Bundesliga. 

A new combined contract until 2004 for Association cup matches and the National team with DFB will cost ARD/ZDF at least 350 million EURO, but both, the cup and the National team face constant pressure by the (big) clubs who like to see their players in matches from which they profit themselves. 

Due to German football magazine 'Kicker' the European (non-champions-league) cups 1999/2000 have brought only 10 million EURO because of the early failures of the German teams. About the same sum has come in from the indoor season which is unlikely to have a bright future in the context of an increasing European program. The Champions League might have brought double of that. 

'Kicker' reported that an average 0f 35% of the income of clubs is by TV (25% by merchandising, 23% by ticket sale, 10% shirt sponsoring). Probably this is not income but turnover. TV rights don't cause expenses like merchandising sale or organising of stadiums, so the TV rights sale should be more valuable as an income factor.  

 The future leaves a lot of scenarios open. Murdoch could put up pressure on Kirch and establish an own digital TV channel. Also he could let Kirch temporarily take part at the football market which would mean a severe threat to UFA/Bertelsmann and RTL.  
 The Bundesliga could design a market as wished if not the European commission gives the viewer a voice. An individual sale of Bundesliga matches could make pay-per-view-TV almost obsolete for the most of football at this point. 

 But Kirch has the World Cup rights in reserve and it will be hard to escape from the new era of virtual road toll. The virtual stadium of the future will be smaller and more expensive and still there will be the stooges paying a fifth of their monthly salary to be in the stadium, to be part of the colorful atmosphere for the couch potatoes at home, an effort for which they should get paid, not pay, witnessing a kind of modern live theatre play, in which the actors swap the dresses now before and after the matches, and receiving more for a quick color and fan change at the end of the year than those poor guys will ever see themselves in their entire lives. 

How did the 18 Bundesliga clubs perform 1998/2000? 
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 Bayern Munich: Everything went perfect (apart from the Champions League final). The right players left (a lot less politics via media took place, a consequence from success and the individual players situations), the right players came (i.e. Jens Jeremies). The right coach came. The Bundesliga at whole did not seem too strong. And Bayern 1998/1999 became one of the most successful stories in Bundesliga history. Only the great Bayern of the early seventies have yet had a little edge in statistics. Bayern won 15 points ahead of Leverkusen. (qualified for Champions League) 
 Bayer Leverkusen: Almost 2 points per game tells they have been close to a champion-like team. But some inconsistent periods spoiled their ambitions. (qualified for Champions League) 
 Hertha BSC Berlin: Surprise team and growing stronger and stronger towards the end of the season. Second best team of the second half.  Striker Michael Preets won the best scorers crown. (qualified for Champions League qualification round) 
 Borussia Dortmund: Although they disappointed in almost every away match they played successful at home and will return to the champions league. Their squad has been to big, considering there were not qualified for European action. It had been clear, some had to suffer. Among them was popular German midfielder Thomas Häßler, who hardly played. He will leave. (qualified for Champions League qualification round) 
 1.FC Kaiserslautern: Had a difficult year because of injuries. When it became obvious defending the title was impossible and the Champions League story was over, the team lost concentration and began to focus on club politics. Those weeks seem to hav costed Kaiserslautern a Champions League qualification spot. But two European club qualifications in a row for a promoted team are not too bad anyway. (qualified for UEFA cup) 
 VfL Wolfsburg: A candidate for relegation in the beginning Wolfsburg made it to the UEFA cup. Now with the backing of VW VfL wants to build a second Leverkusen (the team backed by Bayer). (qualified for UEFA cup) 
 Hamburger SV: After a sluggish first half, much more consolidated. Remarkable is the constant change of the player personal. (will take part in the Intertoto cup) 
 MSV Duisburg: After being close to the relegation zone, the noname team, based on a solid defense, has been 3rd best team of the second half. (will take part in the Intertoto cup) 
 Munich 1860: After finishing 4th after 17 weeks, they became the worst team of the second half. Will be joined by Thomas Haessler. 
 Schalke 04: An overaged team with several injuries could not live up to expectations but managed the situation when temporarily coming close to the relegation zone.  
 VfB Stuttgart: A completely different character as new coach for the same personal led to tensions in the first half and set up a difficult year. Changes in coaching did not bring change. Eventually rescued in last match.  
 SC Freiburg: The young team convinced by its attitude playing a more technical style despite fighting relegation. Rescued themselves in the last match. 
 Werder Bremen: A disappointing year introduced by an Intertotocup engagement which was blamed for an insufficient preparation. Anyway the team did not convince the entire season. Rescued themselves in week 33. 
 Hansa Rostock: A dramatic rescue in the last match, needing a victory and coming from behind to win away at Bochum. A very good performance in the last third after being sluggish before. Losing the best players to bigger clubs again. 
 Eintracht Frankfurt: A miraculous rescue in the last week after winning four consecutive matches. Leading 4:1 against Kaiserslautern 2 minutes from time, believing to have achieved the impossible, they heard from radio that Nuremberg and Rostock, both had just scored and they needed another goal. In a dramatic finish they scored the fifth in front of a frenzy crowd and survived. This most dramatic end in Bundesliga covered a partly mediocre performance especially after the winter break and leaves the future now seem wide open. 
 1.FC Nuremberg: Celebrated their rescue one week to early, thinking 3 points and 5 goals plus several clubs between them and Frankfurt might be enough. Hit the goal post in last minute and became relegated. (relegated) 
 VfL Bochum: The team with many injuries and some youngsters were talking UEFA Cup and suddenly experienced a dramatic slump incapable to stop it. (relegated) 
 Borussia Mönchengladbach: After a terrible first half Mönchengladbach earned good critics but was still not capable to convert play into goals or points. Many consider the downfall of one of  the most exciting clubs of the seventies as a tragedy because of the seemingly limited comeback potential. (relegated)