(Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp.’s European business Sky plans to show top-flight soccer matches in Germany on a pay-per-view basis, pushing beyond its fixed subscription model in an effort to entice younger fans, according to people familiar with the matter.
A partnership with digital platform Onefootball could go ahead close to the beginning of the new Bundesliga season on Friday, said one of the people. It would be the first time that Sky has offered viewers anywhere the opportunity to watch a single match for a one-time fee.
Sky has long used its all-you-can-watch elite soccer packages to lure viewers to its entertainment and news channels. Its billionaire founder Rupert Murdoch told other shareholders in his company News Corp. in 1996 that he intended to use sport as a “battering ram” to expand his global pay-TV network.
Europe’s biggest satellite-TV broadcaster began testing a more flexible approach in 2012 when it launched streaming service Now TV, allowing consumers to build their own packages from their favorite programs and sports.
Murdoch quit the scene last year with the takeover of Sky by U.S. media giant Comcast, and future growth of the business will hinge on reaching modern viewers who are used to picking from an array of digital media and want flexible, easily-accessible ways to consume soccer.
Under the partnership with Onefootball, Sky would allow the Berlin-based digital platform to show single matches and share the fee revenue with Sky, said the people, who asked not to be named as the plans are not public and the deal has not been signed.
Sky and Onefootball declined to comment.
Sky has amassed around 5 million subscribers in Germany with a mix of blockbuster movies, hit TV shows such as “Game of Thrones” and exclusive Bundesliga and Champions League rights.
New digital rivals are challenging its dominance. Billionaire Len Blavatnik’s streaming company DAZN last month secured a deal with Discovery Inc.’s Eurosport for live rights to some of the Bundesliga. Its packages, which also include Austrian and Italian soccer, women’s tennis and NBA basketball, cost 9.99 euros ($11.13) a month.
DAZN plans to raise prices in Germany by 20% to 11.99 euros following the Eurosport deal. Sky’s main Bundesliga package costs 25 euros a month for the upcoming season.
Onefootball first offered a pay-per-view service in the U.K. in April, when it teamed up with rights holder Eleven Sports to show Spanish La Liga matches for 2.99 pounds ($3.61) a match.
“Modern football fans are challenging the status quo,” Onefootball founder and Chief Executive Officer Lucas von Cranach said at the time. “They want to be empowered to consume live content in a more flexible, easily accessible way.”
--With assistance from Stefan Nicola.
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