The head of the advertising sales department of German public broadcaster ZDF, Hans-Joachim Strauch, has fired harsh words at rights holder Discovery in the stalled negotiations regarding sublicences for the Olympic Games in 2018 and 2020.
In response to the question whether ZDF will reach an agreement with the US media company, Strauch told German industry magazine w&v: “I don’t hope so as Olympia will now be mercilessly commercialised. The rights owner wanted to have twice as much money and Discovery must now find ways to capitalise this.” This will be difficult, believes Strauch.
“I think that this decision will really damage sports,” criticised Strauch. “Such a small channel like Eurosport will pick the raisins and the rest will not take place. Our viewers are not just sports fans, but people watching because they are otherwise just offered crap during these hours.” In his opinion, Discovery must “fall flat on its face, so that next time we’ll have the chance to be considered again.”
Discovery purchased that European TV rights for the Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 for €1.3 billion from IOC one year ago. The company which operates Eurosport, offered in Germany as a free-to-air service, and several other TV channels, demands from ARD and ZDF €150 million for the free-to-air TV rights for the Olympics in 2018 and 2020, but the public broadcasters are only willing to pay up to €100 million, according to industry sources.
This year might be the last time ARD and ZDF transmit the Olympic Games if they don’t reach an agreement with Discovery. In this case, Eurosport or other free-to-air TV channels could end up showing the competitions. In the contract with the IOC, Discovery ensured extensive free-to-air coverage of the Olympics.