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German athletics dismay after TV talks fail

Other News Materials 19 January 2011 15:48
German athletics officials have criticised the country's public broadcasters after talks on live coverage of this year's world athletics championships broke down.
German athletics dismay after TV talks fail

German athletics officials have criticised the country's public broadcasters after talks on live coverage of this year's world athletics championships broke down.

Broadcasters ARD and ZDF have been unable to reach agreement with rights agency ICE who were seeking at least twice as much as the TV companies were prepared to offer for the August 27-September 4 event in Daegu, South Korea, and the 2013 edition in Moscow, DPA reported.

Helmut Digel, German chairman of the international athletics federation IAAF's marketing commission, said the offer from ARD and ZDF was "an insult to the German athletics team."

He told German Press Agency dpa: "The last offer from ARD and ZDF was 6 million euros (8 million dollars). That is not acceptable when the same broadcasters pay the same amount for a friendly football match."

ICE, which acts for IAAF on marketing rights, had been asking for 15 million euros but had been prepared to drop the price to 12 million, officials said.

But ZDF sport chief Dieter Gruschwitz said the two sides were "far apart" on what they believed the coverage was worth. The broadcasters are now looking to show highlights only.

Clemens Prokop, president of the German athletics federation DLV, said the decision not to broadcast the championships live was "a slap in the face for German viewers."

ARD and ZDF have provided blanket coverage from all past world championships and had high ratings for the 2009 edition in Berlin. But most of the finals at the 2011 edition will be around midday German time, making it less attractive for the public broadcasters who now hope to negotiate a highlights package.

There is still a possibility of live coverage via Eurosport who are believed to be in talks with ICE. However a spokeswoman for Eurosport said it did not comment on negotiations.

Thomas Bach, president of Germany's Olympics sport association, said: "It would be a loss for German sport if the world championships are not shown live, on whatever channel, although I would prefer if it were free TV."

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