KAMPALA – Last weekend, the Bundesliga became Europe’s first soccer league to resume normal action following a two-month break. Other sports competitions and soccer leagues in the region will be closely monitoring the German league, keen to see how the health measures put in place will work.
These safety measures were designed to protect officials, players, and operational staff.
The first games after the return were played behind closed doors, with only 300 people present in the stadium, including referees, coaching staff, players, and media. Everybody entering the stadium was subjected to temperature testing and questionnaires, while only those on the pitch were able to ignore the face mask and social distancing requirement.
During the match, the media was also restricted in numbers, and post-match interviews were conducted from a distance. However, the general perception by football lovers is that Bundesliga’s return is a success. Broadcasters are also grateful for the league’s return, considering that they’ve been starved of live soccer for several weeks.
Early ratings from last weekend’s matches remain positive in Germany and abroad. Sky Deutschland had millions of viewers across their on-demand and linear channels, with the decision to show “Konferenz” on Sky Sports News, boosting viewership significantly.
In Bundesliga, Konferenz is an equivalent of an NFL Redzone, where fans see live footage of the grounds depending on the most exciting games. Considering the number of people who bet on Bundesliga football live on Betway, these numbers are quite impressive. Additionally, Germany’s Pay-TV market is relatively undeveloped, though a good number of soccer fans wager on Bundesliga games at Betway.
According to market experts, the ratings are likely to continue rising after Monday’s match between Werder Bremen and Bayern Leverkusen was shown live on Amazon Prime in Germany for free.
For UK fans, BT Sport shows typically select games from every Bundesliga weekend, but they’ll now show all the games live till the season ends.
Traditionally, British broadcasters don’t air matches between 3 P.M and 5.15 P.M to protect attendance, but this restriction will no longer apply since there will be no fans attending. This waiver allows BT Sport to air five games live every Saturday afternoon simultaneously.
The decision to lift the restriction in the UK was encouraged by the increase in viewership by five-folds, with Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund game attracting 1.4+ million fans across all platforms. The average number of viewers on the BT Sport’s linear channels was over 590,000 people, with digital viewership being at par with several premier league matches.
Speaking on the subject, BT Sports spokesperson said it’s great to see the solid viewership numbers across their linear and digital channels with Bundesliga’s return.
BT Sport will be using this disruption to advance its remote production facilities, though the staff will be working from home. The commentators will also be voiced the games to their TVs from home, a technique known as “off-tube.”
Evidently, it might take substantial time before games are played in front of a full house, though Bundesliga’s return has given hope to soccer fans. Even better, it offers the sports community the much-needed gaming action.