German public broadcaster ZDF is open for partnerships with commercial competitors to increase its chances in the bidding races for attractive sports rights following its loss of the TV rights for the UEFA Champions League and the Olympic Games.
“ZDF will continue trying to obtain attractive rights and remain an important market player. And we will, from case to case, look for new alliance partners,” ZDF’s sports director Thomas Fuhrmann told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
“I have no problem talking to Deutsche Telekom for this purpose, for example, or to Amazon or other pay-TV and streaming providers. We have to follow new paths und possibly work together,” said Fuhrmann.
Regarding the TV rights for the Olympic Games purchased by Discovery until 2024, Fuhrmann said that it would not be clear to him how this can be refinanced. “I’m curious about it.”
The negotiations with Discovery regarding sublicenses for the Olympic Games 2018 failed, but Fuhrmann didn’t rule out recommencing discussions afterwards. “We will now follow with great interest how things are done at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018. It’s a long time until 2024. And they do know our phone number.”
The TV rights for the Champions League in Germany and Austria from the 2018/19 season to the 2020/21 season were recently acquired by pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland and Perform Group, operator of OTT sports portal DAZN.
The European TV rights for the Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 are in the hands of Discovery.