Should ARD and ZDF pay any price for soccer broadcasting licenses? "Definitely not!" At least that's the opinion of Prof. Dr. Michael Schaffrath, head of the Department of Media and Communications, in an interview on SR2 Kulturradio on Easter Saturday, April 3, in the program "Medien - Cross und Quer". In the approximately 20-minute interview conducted by Katrin Aue and Thomas Bimesdörfer, the habilitated communications scientist classified the media law and media economics aspects of the billion-dollar poker game for broadcasting rights in soccer. Schaffrath vehemently denied that the "basic service mandate" regulated in the State Media Treaty obliges ARD and ZDF to report on soccer in any case: "In the corresponding paragraph 26 of the State Treaty, you will find neither the term sport nor the term soccer. And Paragraph 13 of the State Treaty also stipulates that various soccer events, such as the games of the national team or selected games of World and European Championships, must be broadcast on free-to-air television because of their social significance. But free-to-air television does not exclusively include ARD and ZDF, but also stations such as RTL, SAT.1, Pro7 or Vox and others."
Schaffrath also pointed out in the interview that the public broadcasters are "trustees of fee money" which they have to manage seriously. "When RTL, SAT.1, Sky or DAZN take money in hand to buy soccer rights, they own the economic risk and have to look for refinancing options according to the laws of the market. If that goes well, they earn money. If it doesn't, they go bankrupt - like the Kirch Group in 2002, which had a lot to do with paying too much money for soccer rights. But when ARD and ZDF spend money to buy soccer rights, that's all of our money, and so the question is also justified as to what extent such spending is still proportionate."
The head of the Department of Media and Communications pleaded for the directors and sports directors of ARD and ZDF to examine very carefully up to what amount one wants to use fee money to help finance the "absurd salaries of professional soccer players", which are not infrequently ten, 15 or even over 20 million euros per year. According to Prof. Schaffrath, the main source of income for soccer is TV money. And thus the enormous development of player salaries also results from the economically questionable price driving in the bidding for broadcasting rights, which are very difficult to refinance, according to Schaffrath.
Prof. Dr. Michael Schaffrath
Department of Media and Communications
phone: 089 289 24639
Text: Romy Schwaiger