Low TV ratings at World Cup: “Tournament is not so well received in Germany”

Dhe World Cup in Germany has not triggered any great euphoria so far. Apparently, many football fans have taken the call to boycott Qatar seriously and don’t want to get too involved with this tournament. At least that’s what a look at the TV ratings shows. They have been at a moderate level since the beginning. Even the opening game of the German national team was not watched by 10 million viewers on ARD.

9.23 million. To be precise, that’s how many people tuned in to the 2-1 defeat against Japan on Wednesday afternoon to cheer for Hansi Flick and his team. Although this corresponds to a market share of 59.7 percent, the figures are miles behind comparable values ​​from previous world championships.

“So far, viewer interest has been significantly lower than usual at a football World Cup,” said ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky to the sports information service. “The last time less than 10 million viewers saw a World Cup game with German participation was more than 30 years ago.” This shows that “the tournament is not so well received in Germany”. However, “many people ” Follows the German game in the stream. MagentaTV also broadcasts all games live. However, the odds make them “very thoughtful”, says Balkausky.

A final assessment of viewer interest will be drawn after the World Cup. Balkausky: “We still have three and a half weeks of broadcasting before the final, in which interest can definitely increase, depending of course on the success of the DFB team. However, I no longer expect big jumps.”

Four years ago in Russia, 25.97 million (market share: 81.6 percent) watched the 0-1 start against Mexico in Moscow on ZDF. An average of 17.9 million watched the women’s national team final in the summer, almost twice as many as the men.

The reasons for that are complex. In addition to the unusual time of year, which actually stands for higher television consumption on average, political issues overshadow the sporting event.

“The first three days of the World Cup on ZDF were characterized by the balancing act between appropriate reporting on the first group games and the processing of the critical topics relating to this tournament,” said ZDF World Cup team boss Christoph Hamm. The massive discussion about the “One Love” bandage apparently also caused even more displeasure among many fans who were already critical.

The low numbers had already become apparent. Only the opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador (0:2) broke the five million mark in the first four days. Even the start of the defending champions France against Australia (4:1) in prime time attracted only 4.96 million fans in front of the television sets. This was almost three million fewer than the game with the weakest reach at the same time in 2018.

But Monday was significant. While the duel between the USA and Wales (1:1) could be seen in prime time on ZDF, ARD itself achieved a higher rating and reach with a crime thriller repeat from 2013.

In any case, ZDF is not giving up and is pinning its hopes on the second appearance of the German team on Sunday against Spain (8 p.m. CET, in the FAZ live ticker for the World Cup, on ZDF and MagentaTV). “This football classic in prime time should provide further information on how this tournament is received by German television viewers,” said Hamm, who referred to the “strong increase” in the number of views of the event live streams. Balkausky, on the other hand, no longer expects any “big leaps”, even if “we still have three and a half weeks of broadcasting ahead of us”.

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