BERLIN — German pubcasters ARD and ZDF have agreed to buy rights to the 2002 World Cup soccer games from the Kirch Group for the record sum of DM250 million ($119 million).
While ZDF was quick to rubber-stamp the deal, ARD’s 10 regional broadcasters had to vote on the purchase. Four of the ARD webs abstained, including Berlin’s SFB and northern Germany’s NDR.
ARD and ZDF paid a mere $8.5 million for the rights to 1998’s World Cup in France. Initially, the pubcasters had offered Kirch $59 million for next year’s games, to be held in Japan and South Korea. Kirch refused.
The pubcasters, which had sought from Kirch a buy-option for the 2006 games in Germany, had to agree to separate future negotiations.