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N-TV nabs Berlin Marathon

Race to air in more than 80 countries

BERLIN — German web N-TV said on Friday it had acquired the live broadcast rights for the Berlin Marathon.

The marathon is one of the world’s biggest races with more than 40,000 participants and often a ratings winner on the strength of five world records set in the past decade.

The Sept. 26 race will also be broadcast in more than 80 other territories by Eurosport.

N-TV, a 24-hour news channel that is part of Cologne-based Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, has been pushing further into sports broadcasting with appreciable success in recent years, N-TV topper Volker Wasmuth told a group of journalists in Berlin on Friday, as he announced the web would replace German pubcasters RBB and ARD. They had broadcast the marathon — the fastest track in the world when Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia ran it in 2:03.59 hours in 2008 — since 1990.

“We’re thrilled to have another major sporting event broadcast live on N-TV,” Wasmuth said. “Sports has become an important cornerstone of our programming alongside news and business news. The sports broadcasts are doing exceptionally well, especially with our male viewers.”

RBB and ARD had together had about an average 10% market share for the marathon broadcasts — on Sunday mornings with a peak of nearly 2 million viewers at the finish.

In 2001, Japan’s Fuji TV got a 56% market share for its live Sunday evening prime time coverage of the race when a woman from Japan was going for a world record.

“We’re looking forward to reaching new audiences with N-TV,” said marathon race director Mark Milde.

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