Who influenced you to play football?

Series: Blind LoveHow football affects the media

Sunday evening in Germany, 8:15 p.m. It is October 11th of last year - when there is an interesting duel. "Burned" is the name of the crime scene in which Wotan investigates Wilke Möhring and Petra Schmidt-Schaller as Falke and Lorenz in the case of a burned asylum seeker in the Lower Saxony province. It's a good movie based on a true story that has been shown in numerous cinemas beforehand. And it is not without a certain irony that the duel has a similar start.

Football hits the scene

The German national anthem, it is not only on ARD that evening, but also on RTL a few minutes later. The last, sportingly insignificant game in the European Championship qualification for the German national soccer team in Ireland. This game will end 0: 1 from a German point of view, but the actual result of this evening will not be known until the next morning: the TV ratings. With 13.84 million viewers, football wins the German "campfire" duel, the Tatort only about half with 7.2 million viewers.

"Somebody once wrote football, is what it used to be in the Stone Age, when you sat around the campfire. You sat together, you talked about heroes, you talked about defeats. The campfire of prehistoric times is now football Stadium, says Markus Hörwick.

In the early 1980s, he built up the FC Bayern press office. At that time he still had to go to the editorial office to convince the journalists to go to Säbener Straße 51 - today Bayern have up to 150 interview requests before a Champions League game:

"After the federal government, we are still the club, the company where most of the journalists who are currently working every day are on site."

Football as a source of odds for television

And this demand has two effects: on the one hand, it can be marketed commercially, and on the other, it creates power. Whereby one thing somehow also causes the other, says Professor Uwe Hasebrink. He is director at the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research at the University of Hamburg: "It is regularly the content that has achieved the highest ratings over the years. That attracts the largest audiences. In this respect, football is an exception."

In 2015, the top ten TV ratings hit ten times football - and 18 months after the World Cup final in Brazil, FIFA reported that this game was seen by 1.013 billion people around the world - around a seventh of the world's population. In times when linear television is declining and TV advertising can actually only be switched to live events, it gives football a good starting position: the German Football League (DFL) wants over a billion euros for television rights from Redeem the 2017/2018 season. Currently there are 630 million.

These rights are of great importance for ARD, ZDF and the pay TV broadcaster "Sky". For example, should "Sky" go empty, it could mean the end of the channel. And it would also be a big loss for ARD and ZDF. Although there is now an EU guideline according to which free short reporting is possible, this has not yet been implemented in Germany, reports Stephan Dittl, specialist lawyer for copyright and media law at the law firm "Salger" in Frankfurt, who did his doctorate on short reporting : "Apparently no one is interested anymore because the market is quite satisfied with the current situation."

Dittl is not surprised that this EU directive has not been implemented: "It is clear that the associations are not interested. And in the last few years there has not been anyone among the broadcasters who really wanted that. Nobody who has ever empathized with politics . " The assumption is obvious: the TV stations do not want to mess with the DFL.

Unpleasant reports have consequences

Because unpleasant reporting has consequences: "Then there are immediate consequences, such as: Then there are no more interviews with other players, complaints with the department heads, and so on", reports Dirk Kurbjuweit, meanwhile a member of the chief editor at "Spiegel", he once wrote critically about Arjen Robben, which was not well received in Munich: "Well, Bayern Munich, as I said, is behaving like a kingdom, if not like a dictatorship in sport."

But in view of the high level of interest, financial strength and increasing professionalism, football is also becoming more and more interesting as an employer. Sports reporters have always switched to clubs as spokespersons, but there have recently been notable changes: Christopher Keil, for example, moved from the investigative department of the Süddeutsche Zeitung to FC Bayern, the chief reporter of "Sport-Bild", and Florian Scholz went to the second division club RB Leipzig and Tobias Kaufmann left the editor-in-chief of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and went to 1. FC Köln. Because the FC, like almost all other Bundesliga clubs, now plays the entire media keyboard.

In addition to the classic club magazine "Geißbock-Echo", says Kaufmann, "we of course have a website. We are on all relevant social media channels and we have our own club TV." The thesis that the club's own TV takes over the entire reporting, however, rejects Kaufmann for 1. FC Köln: "We do both in parallel. We work - in Cologne there is no other way - with very, very many media together every day. "

Direct access for club broadcasters

But what such a scenario could look like could already be seen: "Only football delivers such stories." The studio of fcb.tv, the own channel of FC Bayern Munich. "Mario Götze scored the 1-0 ten minutes after being substituted on." Moderator Dieter Niklas has a special studio guest. "FC Bayern also takes the hurdle BVB, thanks in part to him. Hello Mario." - "Hello." - "Howdy, hello. That wasn't an easy situation for you. How did the team and Pep Guardiola, how did they take you along, prepare for the game?" - "Yes, of course, we knew it was going to be a very, very difficult game ..."

Mario Götze, a white, cut-out T-shirt, highly styled hair and once under contract with Borussia Dortmund, gives an interview the day after his first game against the former employer in November 2013. The day before he disappeared from the stadium without a word, although of course all the media wanted to speak to him. Now fcb.tv has it exclusively - for a nice banter.

DFL influences the scope of reporting

In any case, the pictures of the Bundesliga games are no longer produced by independent reporters, but by a DFL subsidiary. The league thus retains sovereignty over the images and can decide for itself what is filmed. But not only that: In the course of drafting the contracts for the TV rights of the league, the DFL also dictates the scope of the reporting - despite the high sums it receives for it.

"There is a contractual obligation to report on the Saturday night game of the Bundesliga in a detailed summary. And of course ZDF is happy to comply with this obligation," was the ZDF's e-mail response to a Deutschlandfunk request. In other words: No matter whether the evening game was unattractive, it ended 0-0. This means, according to the ZDF, "that about a quarter of an hour from the Saturday evening game is reported right at the beginning of the" current sports studio "- usually the 3D analysis and the interview with the coaches of the two teams of the Saturday evening game are added. "

The effect: Together with the afternoon games, the Bundesliga automatically dominates the entire program - and shows the trend in the media industry.