RTL secures rights to screen German football team matches
The private German broadcaster RTL has won the bid to transmit the qualification matches of the German national soccer team for the European Championship 2016 and the World Cup 2018, writes Birgit Heidsiek. RTL was awarded the contract by the Union of European Footall Associations (UEFA) that had put out the TV rights for tender in all of Europe.
“Finally, we will have great soccer at RTL again,” comments RTL programme manager RTL Frank Hoffmann. From September 2014 until October 2017, RTL will broadcast live and exclusively on free TV all the qualification matches of the German national soccer team for the European Championship finals of 2016 in France and the World Cup tournament of 2018 in Russia. Altogether the rights package includes 20 live matches of the German national soccer team as well as copious highlight rights for all further qualification matches. RTL and UEFA signed the contract on July 11, 2013.
“We are delighted that RTL has become our partner for the transmission of the European qualification matches,” stresses an UEFA spokesperson. “RTL is a perfect platform for the free-to-air transmission of the matches of the German national soccer team and will effectively support the advertisement for the competition. We are looking forward to the cooperation with RTL with which we pursue the goal to make the European qualification matches a huge television event for the soccer fans in Germany.”
Up to now the public TV stations ARD and ZDF always transmitted the group matches of the German national soccer team on its way to big tournaments. “Of course we respect this decision and can assure that we also work closely with the new partner RTL,” underlines Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German Football Association DFB. “[Plus] of course we also stick to our partnership with ARD and ZDF.”
In a joint statement, ARD and ZDF added: “We have taken note of the decision of UEFA to the assignment for the qualification matches of the German national team for the EC 2016 and the World Championship in 2018.” They had applied for the transmission rights “with a fair and market-conform offer but they also had defined together a clear financial upper limit”, according to their official statement. The friendlies and the finals of the national soccer team at the EM 2016 are not part of this TV deal.
For two decades RTL had been on the subs’ bench. In December 1993 the Cologne-based broadcaster transmitted two matches of the German national soccer team which took place against Argentina and during a trip to the US. But now the UEFA deal means a soccer comeback on a national/international game level.
“What news,” rejoices Manfred Loppe, sports manager at RTL. “Finally, we can feel ourselves what we only knew from the description of the colleagues previously. As underdogs we have virtually played the decisive pass exactly at the right moment in the stoppage time of the final for the assignment of permissions. Goal, final whistle and gigantic cheering in the RTL curve. This is exactly the feeling that we want to share in our reporting with the audience and fans.”