In a significant development in German boxing, ARD, one of the country’s national television networks, which has had an exclusive output deal with Sauerland Event since 2000, will not renew its contract after Sauerland's final boxing card of the year in December.
According to sources in Germany, ARD is still open to televise some boxing, but it won’t spend nearly as much money as it had annually on the Sauerland contract, which is estimated by many at more than $10 million per year. However, ARD will also be open to working with promoters besides Sauerland, which is supposedly in talks with SAT.1, another German network, about a deal for next year.
Sauerland promotes several of Germany’s most significant fighters and other top fighters, including cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck, super middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham, cruiserweight titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez, former super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler, super middleweight contender George Groves and light heavyweight titleholder Juergen Braehmer.
However, with an expiring television contract, some fighters may look to leave the company. That is already the case with Huck, who told German newspaper Bild that he will not renew his expiring promotional agreement with the company after a decade-long relationship.
"I am very grateful to [company founder] Wilfried Sauerland, but I decided to take the reins,” Huck told Bild. “As a great champion, I want to be independent. Now I am free for Klitschko.”
Huck, who once challenged Alexander Povetkin for a heavyweight belt and was badly robbed, wants a crack at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, whose K2 Promotions rarely does business with Sauerland unless it’s a mandatory situation. Klitschko also has a deal with German network RTL. The television issues would disappear if Huck is no longer with Sauerland. To that end, Huck has formed Huck Sports Promotion.
"I dream of big fights, even in the United States,” Huck said. “I want to fight the best. Klitschko is at the top with me. I want to leave [Sauerland] in peace and hope that there will be no obstacles in the way. It was a successful time together.”
Sauerland Event did not want to discuss the television situation.