RTL ends World Cup tournament on high note

German commercial new didn't show any German games

COLOGNE, Germany -- Betting that German soccer fans would tune in to the World Cup even when the home side wasn't playing has payed off handsomely for commercial network RTL.

An average of 9.5 million viewers watched each of the nine World Cup matches RTL carried live, representing an average 33% market share. The high-water mark was RTL's broadcast of the first round showdown between Italy and Paraguay, which drew 13.4 million viewers. It was the second most-watched World Cup game here not counting matches where Germany were competing. Only ZDF's broadcast of Brazil vs. North Korea did better, with an audience of 13.9 million.

Under a rights-sharing deal, public broadcasters ARD and ZDF held onto rights for the bulk of World Cup matches, including all German games, the semi-finals and final matches.

RTL Sports boss Manfred Loppe said his network is interested in a similar rights-sharing deal for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.