Football: Television Deal Hands Viewers a World Cup Feast
Harris, Nick, The Independent (London, England)
BRITISH VIEWERS will be able to watch all 64 of next summer's World Cup finals matches live after the BBC and ITV agreed a deal believed to be worth pounds 160m with the rights distributors yesterday.
Following protracted and often rancorous negotiations with the German company Kirch, the broadcasters have secured an agreement to screen both the 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals.
There will be an equal split between BBC and ITV of the rights fee, which is the equivalent of pounds 40m per tournament each. They paid pounds 2.7m each for the rights to France 98, although that deal was negotiated in 1987 before the boom in sports broadcasting. Yesterday's deal, which works out at about pounds 1.25m per match, could be seen as good value. Sky currently pays around pounds 6m for each Premiership match it screens. By the 2006 finals in Germany, the BBC and ITV deal for a tournament staged in Europe could look a snip.
The broadcasters, which have shown the nine previous finals, will share the games staged at next year's event in South Korea and Japan - for which England qualified 13 days ago with a 2-2 draw against Greece at Old Trafford - and the 2006 event, although both broadcasters may show all England's games.
The agreement with Kirch follows months of wrangling, with the German company at one point threatening court action to extract more money for the British rights. There were fears that Kirch might not sell the rights at all rather than accept less than its asking price. It had wanted pounds 171m for the 2002 event alone, but the BBC and ITV, working together, would pay no more than pounds 55m.
"We paid less for both tournaments than Kirch originally wanted," a BBC spokesman confirmed. "We are absolutely delighted. It's a really …
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Publication information: Article title: Football: Television Deal Hands Viewers a World Cup Feast. Contributors: Harris, Nick - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 19, 2001. Page number: 32. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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