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German Basketball Federation wants ARD-ZDF to boost FIBA World Cup exposure

The president of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) has called on German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF to negotiate a rights agreement that ensures the closing stages of the forthcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup are shown on a major free-to-air channel.

German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom holds broadcast rights to the competition in a wider agreement that also includes rights to the EuroBasket tournament. Deutsche Telekom is making all 92 games available on a free-to-view basis on its Magenta Sport service, but the DBB is pushing for additional exposure should Germany reach the latter stages.

DBB president Ingo Weiss told Germany’s DPA news agency: “We feel good about Magenta and are delighted to have an excellent partner. Nevertheless we hope that we receive a greater distribution via the public broadcasters if there is German participation in a semi-final or final.”

“We hope then that the public broadcasters can find a solution with our partner Magenta Sport.”

Deutsche Telekom acquired the rights in a five-year contract signed in 2017 and after the public broadcasters registered disappointing viewing figures as co-hosts Germany crashed out at the group stages of the 2015 EuroBasket.

Thomas Fuhrmann, ZDF’s head of sport, gave no indication that the broadcaster is looking to secure live rights to the World Cup, which will take place in China from 31 August to 15 September. He remarked: “Basketball is an exciting and interesting sport. But the live rights are with [Deutsche] Telekom.”

ZDF will provide reports from the tournament during its flagship sports and news programmes.

In 2013, the DBB’s Weiss criticised ARD for failing to adequately promote its live coverage of the EuroBasket tournament. The coverage of EuroBasket 2013 represented the first time in 10 years that national teams basketball had been shown by a major free-to-air channel in Germany.

Germany’s Sport1 held broadcast rights to the 2014 Fiba World Cup, a tournament for which the German side failed to qualify.

Germany’s listed events legislation does not include the stipulation for any basketball events to be aired live on a free-to-air broadcaster with sufficient penetration.