By Mark Vester
WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm dropped a bombshell this week when he announced that he would be leaving German-based promotional company Universum. Sturm told German tabloid paper Bild, that he would not extend his contract when it runs out in a few months time and wished Universum well. The promotional firm sent out a press release response that disputed Sturm’s position.
Sturm’s departure would be a huge blow to Universum, considered for many years to be the largest promotional company in Germany. During the course of the last five years or so, Universum lost the top seat due to heavy competition from Sauerland Event, Arena Box and K2 East. Sturm is arguably the most popular fighter in their stable but his departure is only the start of Universum’s issues.
A few weeks ago, a report in the German tabloid Hamburger Abendblatt, revealed that Universum was searching for a new television partner because ZDF will not extend their current contract which ends in August 2010 and includes 12 events per year with a reported budget of €20 million. Both sides are trying to work out some alternate routes to work together beyond August of 2010 but the secondary deals are likely to involve a large cutback from 12 to 6 events per year and less money due to drastic cut in the yearly budget.
Universum founder Klaus-Peter Kohl told the paper that he’s already working on some new deals.
“We are planning a whole new concept with interested parties who are already in position to negotiate,” Kohl said.
Some of the new concepts are rumored to be an alliance with a variety of different German networks and the addition of more events that are exclusively showcased on the internet.
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