German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF will not broadcast the games of the Football World Cup 2014 on Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellite system at 13° East due to rights restrictions.
The broadcasters’ live coverage of all 64 World Cup matches will only be transmitted on Astra (19.2° East) which has a smaller footprint than Hot Bird and acts as the main DTH platform serving domestic satellite households in Germany.
“The contractual agreement with FIFA does not enable ZDF to distribute the coverage on Eutelsat Hot Bird,” a ZDF spokesman told Broadband TV News. He added that no decision has been made yet which programmes will replace ZDF’s World Cup transmissions on the Eutelsat satellite.
A spokesperson from SWR, the ARD affiliate handling the World Cup coverage, told Broadband TV News that, according to the present state of knowledge, ARD will only distribute the World Cup matches on Astra, like it has been the case at the previous World Cup four years ago. SWR expects to make a firm statement on this matter in mid-May 2014.
The rights issue arises from Hot Bird’s large footprint through which ARD and ZDF reach, for example, expats, hotels, embassies and army troops in remote areas not served by Astra. The wide-beam transponders used by the broadcasters also cover the Middle East and Northern Africa where pay-TV broadcaster beIN Sports from the Al-Jazeera group has obtained the exclusive live broadcast rights from FIFA. With the removal of their unencrypted World Cup coverage, ARD and ZDF avoid a legal dispute with the rights holder in these territories.
ARD and ZDF on Hotbird will therefore have to show alternate programming, when World Cup football matches are being played and show on the same channels on Astra 19 east.
FIFA would like to reiterate that contrary to some reports about the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ coverage in the Middle East and Northern Africa, including statements attributed to ZDF, FIFA’s broadcast partner in Germany, ZDF will not be broadcasting matches unencrypted on the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite platform during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. ZDF/ARD are media rights licensees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ for the German territory only. As such, their broadcasts will be available in the German language and restricted to Germany. beIN Sports is the exclusive Media Rights Licensee for the Middle East and Northern Africa.