ARD calls for free-to-air protection for handball worlds

German public-service broadcaster ARD has called for the Handball World Championships to be added to the list of protected sports events reserved for free-to-air coverage in Germany.

The 2015 men’s World Championships are currently ongoing in Qatar, with Germany having progressed to the quarter finals. However, ARD and fellow public-service broadcaster ZDF have only secured rights for extracts of coverage from the tournament.

Under a deal with pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group, the tournament’s global rights distribution partner, clips of games can be shown in news and sports programmes. ARD and ZDF pulled out of talks to acquire live rights for the tournament late last year before pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland struck a deal for live coverage before the start of the event on January 15.

Germany’s list of protected events currently includes the summer and winter Olympic Games, all football matches of the German national team, as well as semi-finals and finals of Fifa World Cups and Uefa European Championships.

However, ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky believes the Handball World Championship should be considered for this status due to the interest in the sport in Germany.

“If the social relevance of such a world championship is so high, the policy should ensure that these competitions can be guaranteed to be shown in future by free TV,” Balkausky told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.