Estonian Public Broadcaster Plans To Sell Off World Cup Rights Amid Budget Concerns
Financial problems have forced Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) to consider selling off the rights to next year's FIFA World Cup. Several other services face deep budget cuts as of the new year. ERR Management Board Chair Margus Allikmaa said, "We don't have enough money in next year's budget to cover the expenses on the two major events, the football world championships and the Sochi Winter Olympics." In late September, as reported at the time by Delfi and other outlets, ERR made a request to the government for €800,000 in additional funding, but was turned down. Allikmaa: "Giving up the rights is not easy and the only possibility is to sell them to another nationwide channel. This is so that Estonians could still be able to see the football and we could get to a balanced budget." Besides TV rights, ERR also holds the rights to transmit content to Internet and mobile devices, but these would cost about €600,000. Allikmaa said that he would also try to sell them off to private channels. ERR still intends to cover the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, which sources in the organization, speaking on condition of anonymity, said would necessitate paring back coverage in other areas, including some web services such as ERR News and the Russian-language news site (ERR).