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ARD won’t pursue Wimbledon rights after Sky extension

ARD will no longer attempt to sublicense rights to the Wimbledon tennis championships after pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland extended its contract for the event, according to the German public-service broadcaster’s sports coordinator Axel Balkausky.

In April, Sky signed a five-year extension to its exclusive rights deal for Wimbledon in the German and Austrian markets through 2018.

The subject of free-to-air coverage of the grand slam in Germany came to the fore last year after Sky rejected a request from ARD to sublicense the live rights to the 2013 women’s singles final between Germany’s Sabine Lisicki and France’s Marion Bartoli.

This meant that the first women’s final with German participation since 1999 was unavailable on free-to-air television in Germany.

Speaking to the tennismagazin.de website, Balkausky said ARD would end its efforts to sublicense rights to Wimbledon, even if a German player was to again reach the final.

He added: “The negotiations with Sky last year failed because Sky did not want to sell the final to ARD. Otherwise we would surely have been able to agree on an adequate fee.”

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