DrARD’s sports show had to accept a sharp drop in viewership this past Bundesliga season. On average, 3.909 million people viewed the abstracts. This is about 17 percent less than the previous season. “Of course, the loss of an average of nearly 900,000 viewers worries us,” ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkowski of the German news agency said.
He cited “a very diverse set of reasons for the decline.” TV viewership is generally lower “than in the main corona period” and less stress and appointments. “In more than a quarter of all matches, there were only four current matches on Saturday at 3.30 pm, and in the twenty-sixth round only three,” Balkowski explained.
According to Public Radio’s Director of Sports, he is “not sure if Saturday will remain a key day for the match in the minds of the fans. We will talk about this with the Bundesliga, with which we are always in a constructive dialogue.”
There has also been a significant decline in the current sports studio. On average, 1.78 million people watched the ZDF classic on Saturday night, up from 2.01 million the previous season. “The empty spectator standing due to the pandemic and the lack of excitement in the championship battle do not add to the attractiveness of the German Bundesliga – and this is also reflected in the number of viewers,” said Thomas Fuhrmann, director of sports at ZDF. “The return of traditional teams like Schalke and Werder Bremen will certainly help the league.”
Last season’s numbers in the second Bundesliga are proof. There was an increase in the number of viewers. On pay-TV Sky, the average number of live broadcasts increased 54 per cent to 1.81 million people per match day. In the Bundesliga, on the other hand, this value fell by 16 per cent to 2.82 million.
Differences by team
Sky Sports director Charly Classen recorded “unprecedented interest” in the second division: “This is of course due to the attractiveness of traditional clubs, but also because of the exciting fight for promotion.” In addition to the conference, Sky customers were in particular the popularity of the live games of Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen. The two fan favorites will play in the German Bundesliga again next season.
There was also more viewers on the Sunday edition of the sports show thanks to a catchy second section. Classic ARD averaged 1.945 million after 1.652 million in the previous season. “The tension in the league has an effect on the acceptance of viewers, you can see that in the second Bundesliga,” ARD sports coordinator Balkausky commented. “Of course we are also happy that with clubs Schalke and Werder with strong fans they have been promoted again to the First Division, because this could also lead to increased admissions next season.”
On the other hand, Sport1 will miss out on fan favorites. An average of 460,000 viewers watched the second-tier match on Saturday evening, which was added to the program as a result of the current media contract. “Saturday evening has proven itself as the opening for the new major game on free TV,” the radio said. Broadcasting platform DAZN, which broadcasts the German Bundesliga on Friday and Sunday for a fee, does not publish any specific viewership numbers.
In the finale of the season in the coming days, ARD will once again have a large number of viewers. Freiburg and Leipzig play in the DFB Cup final on Saturday evening. The sky is broadcast too. The Bundesliga relegation matches between Hertha Berlin and Hamburg SV as well as 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Dynamo Dresden in the second division appear Saturday 1 and Sky.