Dhe FC Bayern Munich is also the winner of the year in terms of TV ratings – but overall TV viewers’ interest in football has decreased significantly in the Corona year. The national team in particular had a noticeably weak audience. Joachim Löw’s team even set a negative record.
The clear number one of the sports odds 2020 is the broadcast of the Bayern final victory in the Champions League. 12.81 million people saw the 1-0 success of the German soccer champions against Paris Saint-Germain on free TV at ZDF and ensured a market share of 39.6 percent. Another 1.1 million watched the pay TV channel Sky. The paid online provider DAZN also showed the game, but did not provide any information on the number of viewers.
“In a difficult year that was the lighthouse with over 13 million,” said ZDF sports director Thomas Fuhrmann about the Champions League quota. The second had acquired the transmission rights through a sub-license. For comparison: ZDF’s most successful Champions League broadcast to date was the German final in 2013, when 21.61 million people saw Bayern’s victory against Borussia Dortmund. “Basically, the football experience without a spectator in the stadium is also noticeable on television,” said the ZDF sports director.
The numbers were surprisingly weak, especially for the broadcasts of the national soccer team, which had significantly fewer viewers than in previous years and – unlike in 2019 – not once recorded a double-digit million number. On the contrary: there was even a low. 5.42 million in a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic on RTL was the worst rate for a German international match broadcast in the evening for at least 20 years.
“This year, many other sports made their way into the top 50,” said ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky, commenting on the 2020 TV figures. “Otherwise, the proportion of football matches is higher.” The final stage of the Four Hills Tournament with 6.823 million seats eleven and a total of nine biathlon broadcasts among the 50 most successful sports programs testify to the popularity of winter sports.
The national handball team is also one of the TV viewers’ favorites. In the big tournaments, the games guarantee odds, even if the peak value of 2019 was not reached. In the previous year, 11.901 million people on ARD had seen the lost World Cup semi-finals of the German national team against Norway and ensured the ratings hit of the year. In 2020, however, seven handball championship games made it into the top 50.
“That confirms the trend,” said Balkausky about this year’s successes in winter sports and handball broadcasts. The ARD man referred to the postponed European football championship: “With the euro it would of course have been different.”
From the point of view of Fuhrmann and Balkausky, Corona and the consequences have had a major impact on the football numbers. “The cup final did not have the top quota as it would have with spectators in the stadium,” said the sports coordinator of the first. Only 7.014 million saw Bayern’s 4-2 success against Leverkusen. “In a normal year the numbers would have been higher.” The 2019 final had almost three million more viewers.