TS News - Kirch Wins Promotion To First Division

TELE-satellit News, 4 July 1996

Kirch Wins Promotion To First Division
  GENEVA, Switzerland, 96/07/03 (TS) -- Football's governing body, FIFA,
today broke with the habit of a lifetime and signed deals for TV coverage of
the 2002 and 2006 World Cups to a joint German and Swiss consortium.
Previously the World Cup has always gone to the European Broadcasting Union
(EBU) which was bidding on behalf of its members, Europe's public
broadcasters such as the BBC, ARD, RAI and TVE.

  The deal signed Wednesday was with Bavarian media giant Leo Kirch and
Swiss-based marketing agency ISL and was for SFr 2.8 billion (DM3.4 billion,
US$2.2 billion, 1.5 billion). The deal is reported to exclude US TV rights
and rights for pay-TV and pey-per-view coverage.

  Speaking at the announcement, FIFA general secretary Sepp Blatter, said
ordinary viewers all over the world would still be able to watch the event,
"We want to know that the best coverage is done because football should be
accessible to everyone. It means that in Mali, in the mountains of
Switzerland and in Bolivia people have the right to see the World Cup. This
is our responsibility, to make sure that they see it."

  TELE-satellit's Peter Klanowski reports, German pubcasters ARD and ZDF,
knowing Kirch more closely, said they had no chance of showing the
tournaments. A speaker for Kirch's main station SAT.1 said that it was far
too early to say who would broadcast the events. Finally, a Kirch spokesman
said that all games will be shown on free-to-air TV. The word "live" was
also missing in his statement.

  Many experts expect major sports events to be shown live only for an
additional payment in the future. It is yet unclear whether this will work
in Europe as some countries as well as the European Commission may prepare
legislation to prevent exactly this.

  Leo Kirch owns stakes in German commercial stations SAT.1 and DSF in
addition to equities in TV stations in Italy and Spain. His German digital
TV package DF1 is slated for launch at the end of this month. In order to
offer enough programming, he has clinched several billion-dollar output
deals with US majors in the last months.

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