The DEL, the top-tier ice hockey league in Germany, announced media rights agreements with the Sportsman Media Group, the Munich-based sports marketing agency, and ServusTV, the Austria-based television network owned by Red Bull Media House, the media subsidiary company of energy drink brand Red Bull. The Sportsman has acquired the worldwide broadcast rights to the league and has signed up ServusTV as the free-to-air television partner in Germany for the forthcoming 2012-13 season onwards. The Sportsman will manage the multi-platform international rights for the next four seasons, while Laola1.tv, the internet portal that is, like the Sportsman, a subsidiary of the Sportsman Media Holding, will show live DEL games and highlights. The DEL’s previous domestic rights deal was with Sky Deutschland, the pay-television broadcaster.
Infront Sports and Media, the Switzerlandbased international sports agency, was forced to abandon its live streaming of games from the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on YouTube, the Google-owned video sharing website, because of complaints from rightsholders. Infront had intended to stream all 64 games from the tournament in Finland and Sweden free of charge, both live and on demand, on a newly-launched YouTube channel. The service was supposed to be geo-blocked in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine and USA, where exclusive media licence agreements were in place, but many internet users had breached the firewalls and were accessing the YouTube content in those territories.