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German state broadcasters fail to win rights to Games

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German state broadcasters ARD and ZDF said they will not show the Olympic Games for the first time, having failed to clinch a deal to buy broadcast rights from Discovery Communications.

Discovery last year won the European broadcast rights for the Olympics from 2018 to 2024 for 1.3 billion euros ($1.38 billion), beating out national public broadcasters like the BBC or France Television. But Discovery had been expected to pass on some lucrative rights.

German monthly Manager Magazin reported in June that talks between Discovery and ARD and ZDF had stalled over the price of a sub-license. According to the magazine, ARD and ZDF wanted to pay no more than 100 million euros for the broadcast rights in Germany, while Discovery was demanding at least 150 million.

Discovery declined to comment on details of the negotiations. ARD sports rights director Ulrich Wilhelm said in a statement that Discovery's demands were "far above what we could justify", without providing details.

"We are obligated to be economical with our funds. But if Discovery changes its stance, our door is of course open."

Discovery's Eurosport said on Monday that it would show the Olympic Games on its Eurosport 1 and DMAX free-TV channels, with some additional content to be made available on its pay-TV channel Eurosport 2 and web platform Eurosport Player.

($1 = 0.9425 euros)

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Mark Heinrich)


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