Arena (TV platform)

Arena's logo

The Arena Sport Rechte und Marketing GmbH was a German media company, which operated until August 2007 mainly the Pay television program Arena. It was a fully owned subsidiary of the cable operator Unitymedia. On 30 September 2010 it ceased operations.

Arena was introduced in late 2005, when it was led by Parm Sadhu, and won the broadcasting rights to the Bundesliga for the years 2006 to 2009 in a DFL auction. A year later, Unitymedia company gave the license to Premiere.

Economic development

In order to refinance the costs, of €220 million, for the broadcasting license of the first and second Bundesliga and all other costs (for more sports rights, technology, personnel, advertising), Arena needed to have 2.5 million subscribers. By mid-2007 they only had 1.1 million paying customers, which led to huge losses.

In the nine months from July 2006 to March 2007 the station had a loss of €189 million, expenditures totaled €316 million where as revenues totaled only €127 million.[1][2] The overall sum of the losses from the first year of coverage of the Bundesliga, came to around €250 million.

Because of this, the Bundesliga rights were passed on to Premiere in mid-2007.[3] Through this, Arena received a total of €200 million (€100 million per season) and an equity stake of 17% in Premiere AG valued at €300 million.[4] Arena gave the rights to Premiere as a sub-license, and remained contractor of Bundesliga until 2009.[5]


The pay-TV channel Arena Bundesliga broadcast all 612 games of the first and second Bundesliga in the 2006/2007 season live. The contract with the DFL ran over three years to July 2009, the rights were sold as a sublicense, at the beginning of the 2007/2008 season to the competitor, Premiere.

The Arena was receivable via satellite and cable. The monthly fee for the pay-TV offer was €15 for cable customers and €20 for satellite customers. Minimum terms were between 12 and 24 months, which meant that payments had to be made even during the off-time in winter and summer. Before and after the matches, and during the half-time commercials were shown.

Despite favorable subscription rates, Arena could not reach the planned number of subscribers. At the time of purchasing the Bundesliga rights in December 2005, Arena set six million subscribers as their goal;but by mid-2007 there were only 1.1 million customer subscriptions.

Since Arena had not only sold the Bundesliga rights to Premiere, but also all other rights (for example the Spanish Primera Division), the station was reduced in the second half of the year 2007 and only the satellite platform "arenaSAT" existed until 30 September 2010.[6]

Arena was also broadcasting live matches of the Primera División in Spain, Premier League in England and the Serie A in Italy. In addition they showed HBO US Boxing Nights, skeleton, sailing, volleyball, Copa del Rey, and the Football League Cup.


  1. "Verluste mit der Bundesliga" (in German). manager magazin. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  2. "Teures Zuschussgeschäft" (in German). manager magazin. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  3. "Premiere verbündet sich mit Arena" (in German). Frankfurter Allgemeine. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  4. "Premiere an der Börse gefeiert" (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  5. Peter-Michael Ziegler (18 July 2007). "Premiere-Arena-Deal: Sublizenz mit Rücklizenz" (in German). heise online. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. "Arena Sat wird eingestellt". (in German). 16 June 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
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