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Sport1 moves to plug gap with Fifa archive and documentaries

Sport1, the German sports broadcaster, is to show various Fifa World Cup archive and documentary programming as it looks to rebuild a programming schedule hit by an absence of live sports events.

Following the cancellation or postponement of various events due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Sport1 has reached an agreement with Fifa to air three different programmes.

These include ‘Die Mannschaft’ (‘The Team’), a behind-the-scenes film following Germany on their way to winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The 90-minute film was first released in November 2014 in a tie-up between Fifa, the German Football Federation (DFB) and German film production company Little Shark Entertainment.

Die Mannschaft will air on the free-to-air Sport1 channel on Sunday, April 12 at 8pm (CET) and will be preceded by the first episode of ‘Gold Stars’, the World Cup archive programme, and ‘Match 64’, the documentary about the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina.

News of the agreement between Sport1 and Fifa follows the move by the international federation to allow its traditional broadcast partners access to archive rights they wouldn’t otherwise have to assist in filling their schedules.

Fifa, which took its archive rights sales in house at the start of 2019, has also opened up its match archive across its owned and social media channels as part of the #WorldCup@Home campaign.

Following the broadcast of the World Cup-related programming on April 12, the content will be available free and on-demand within Sport1’s media library.

Sport1 will show six episodes of Gold Stars, which brings together highlights of all Fifa tournaments from the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay up until the 2015 under-17 World Cup in Chile.

Sport1 held video highlights rights to all 64 matches at Russia’s 2018 World Cup in a sublicensing agreement with SportA, the rights agency of German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

Commenting on the social media campaign and the distribution of archive rights to rights-holding broadcasters, Fifa chief commercial officer Simon Thomas told SportBusiness on Friday: “They [football fans] are at home in the midst of a worldwide health crisis and facing an absence of live sport and we want to bring football into their households. It’s also about supporting our broadcast partners as they face a very challenging business environment, so now is not the time to be focusing on financial return.”

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports is already showing a different match from the 2018 World Cup every night in France.

Fifa now handles the distribution of its archive rights in house after taking that role and the broadcaster servicing operations in house at the start of 2019. Previously, the Infront agency had managed the ‘Fifa Films’ business, a role that encompassed the customised production and international sales of archive footage.

As part of the in-house shift, Fifa moved the physical archive from Infront’s offices in Zug, Switzerland to its Zurich headquarters.