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ARD opts against renewing Sauerland boxing deal

German public-service broadcaster ARD has decided not to renew a rights deal with the Sauerland boxing agency, according to the Digital Fernsehen news website.

The current deal, worth €13m ($18m) per year, expires at the end of 2014.

The broadcaster said that the decision had been made due to a squeeze in its sports-rights budget.

ARD programme director Volker Herres said that the collaboration with Sauerland had brought “excellent ratings… but in an increasingly constrained financial environment, we have to restrict ourselves in various sporting fields, unfortunately.”

Regional public-service broadcasters in Germany, including WDR, had been critical of the cost of ARD’s rights deal with Sauerland.

Last year, WDR called for greater transparency in ARD’s acquisition of sports rights as one of a number of recommendations made in a report by the regional public-service’s broadcasting council.

Reports have claimed that the original deal with Sauerland was due to run until the end of 2015, but has been reduced in length due to external pressure on ARD.