ARD, ZDF Interested In Acquiring Wimbledon Rights To Bring Event Back To Free TV
German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "want to show again live pictures from Wimbledon," according to the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG. ARD Sports Dir Axel Balkausky said, "After the experiences of the last several days, we will, starting Monday, intensively work on acquiring live Wimbledon rights from 2014." The reason for this decision seems to be "Germany's newfound tennis excitement and Sabine Lisicki's Wimbledon final appearance." The public broadcasters together with their portfolio of channels "reportedly plan to show important, individiual games." This year, pay-TV network Sky "held the exclusive broadcast rights for the tournament." The network's contract "is set to expire, but Sky wants to extend its deal." Former German tennis player Boris Becker said, "Now we have again a great player, and we are unable to see her. This means it doesn't depend on performance anymore but on the overall concept of the public broadcasters" (FAZ, 7/7). ARD was trying to acquire a sublicense to show Saturday's Wimbledon women's final on free-to-air TV. However, the negotiations failed due to Sky's high price demands. On Friday, Balkausky said, "We have worked intensively until this afternoon to acquire the free-TV rights for the Wimbledon women's final for millions of interested viewers. Unfortunately, the negotiations have failed due to Sky's excessive price expectations." The pay-TV network reportedly wanted €1.5M ($1.9M) from ARD for a sublicense to the women's final. In comparison, Sky pays a reported €700,000 ($898,000) per year for the tournament's rights (SPONSORs).