In this chapter we will take a closer look at how Sky, which has acquired the rights for the First and Second Bundesliga for years to come – for a huge amount of money – uses these rights and how it could use them alternatively and better. Special focus here: the live reports. These are divided into two categories: there are individual matches and there is the conference.
Of course, many things are to be discussed very concretely, even by example, as there was the opportunity to follow many of the views in relation to the Sky Conference as well as the individual matches on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd January 2011, on which the 19th match day of the 2010/2011 season was played, out of the house, i.e. in pubs or cafés, confirmed (in words and pictures). How does the “common” spectator behave, what excites him, occupies him, moves him, fascinates him, what carries him away or what leaves him cold, what bores him, what puts him to sleep, what makes him flee.
There is, of course, the fundamental view that the Sky channel was taken over by the English Sky because the coverage in England works well, so Sky is doing well, and that the poor coverage in Germany caused Premiere – the predecessor – to go out of business. At the same time, however, the broadcasting rights would be a kind of goldmine in which the nuggets would be lying around openly and one would only have to pick them up – if one were prepared to bend down.
The basic idea of setting up and facilitating a conference call was unique in the world, or at least had the character of a first. There had never been anything like it before. Obviously, this made it (initially?) a good selling point. Everyone may remember radio conferences, often in the final phases, in which the reporters switched back and forth to where the action was, and it simply remained exciting until the end. Also because the reporters at that time still had an honour and had to report on the radio, through the only available acoustics as a medium, entertainingly, informatively, excitingly and this at the same time in “fast-talking mode”. Now, on Sky, accompanied by pictures, that had to be the big hit, didn’t it? At least like this: never been done before, must see, will buy.
With every broadcast, the person responsible for it has the chance to do it well or to do it less well, of course. There are a few points that apply specifically to the conference, a few that apply specifically to live matches and a few generally applicable guidelines that are proposed here. Whereby the statement stands – expressed here as a thesis, which finds ample evidence in examples — that Sky has gone to the trouble of picking up the nuggets, but has painted them directly like eggs, has gone to the market with those, in order to offer them there as lazy, too small and too expensive – and to be surprised that people do not queue up. In short: all live transmissions are a disaster.
So first a few generally valid considerations.
1) Sport, Game Suspense
If you offer a sports broadcast, with live captured images, then it goes without saying that the taster, the customer, the purchaser, the viewer, the listener, presumably gets into the act because they want to be well entertained. Entertainment in sport would consist above all in this: it is exciting. One expects an action in which something countable could jump out and one does not yet know the winner while one is watching. These are two decisive criteria.
You might have an inclination as to whom you are rooting for more, or this inclination might develop in the course of the game – which would bring us back to football in concrete terms. If you were neutral beforehand: there is a certain tendency in general to support the underdog, emotionally speaking. So you would always have a certain motivation to stay tuned, and otherwise it would probably have something to do with “sensationalism”, which would always be a spectator argument. “I want to see, I have to see. It’s sensational!” At least the hope of that is what carries you along.
Of course, all this is merely “grey theory”. Because: basically, nobody watches or listens any more. There is a huge difference between having (still a few) TV sets switched on and being involved in the action. Switched on here and there: yes. Following, following, listening, watching, cheering: no. The few fans (who should be the minority by far, but are not; nobody watches “neutrally”, but would if…) of the two teams involved in the game, who might be able to do so, are not included.
One reason for this can be read in the text about rules, in which a higher number of moments of tension are demanded – through the pure application of rules –, crowned with a few more goals, of course. The cause, then, is that there are too few of them. The other cause is clearly the one mentioned above: the commentaries are miserable.
The suspense would have to a) exist and b) be felt, by the commentators themselves – Alfred Hitchcock certainly comes to mind automatically – or at least there would have to be the intention to create it. This is a basic requirement for a live sports event, a sports programme. If there are none or not enough of them and they cannot even be generated: away with the programme. Who should be watching?
The view here is that this circumstance is completely ignored. The curious reason for this is that the fact that it is specifically about the game of football seems to be sufficient from the point of view of those responsible for the programme. Because football? Everyone watches it anyway, if at all possible. Mistake, already. And a serious one at that.
If table tennis, volleyball or even chess were to be broadcast, every journalist, out of professional honour or intuitive representation of viewers’ interests, would immediately look for the elements of suspense and try to emphasise them in order to arouse at least a little interest in the viewer and somehow keep him or her interested.
In the case of football, this does not seem necessary to him, because the common view is that “everyone is interested in football anyway” and “everyone watches football” and “football is so gigantically big that you just don’t have to worry about it”. “Football is on and everyone is watching.” Wrong!
The reporters seem to fancy themselves in this position: if I find anything praiseworthy here and highlight it, my place here is at risk. Clearly a mistake of confusion: enthusiasm or amateurishness, cluelessness?
Recall Loriot’s wonderful sketch in which the uninitiated spectator at the horse races repeatedly asks “Yes, where are they running?” only to conclude, apparently finally catching something, with the binocularly gained realisation “Hach, is the grass nice and green.” To elaborate, in the irresistible urge to do so: the man hasn’t the slightest idea what it’s all about, so delights in some arbitrary marginal detail, made plastic with its infinite insignificance.
This is roughly how a commentator would feel if he enthusiastically pointed out what he described as a “wonderfully played goal”, at which he continued to lose his sobriety and just enthusiastically shouted out “goal, goal, goal, what a fantastic goal”. If he were to do this and had not noticed the “collective carelessness of the defence”, the “catastrophic positional errors”, the “lack of determination in the duel” and the “far too clumsy goalkeeper reaction”, which an alternative “expert” (i.e.: defeatist) in the background had ruthlessly exposed, then he would soon have had his day. No more joy. There is no room for enthusiasm, it has long since given way to sober error chain analysis. That’s how you make it big. The audience? Itches?
Selling the small, rotten, overpriced eggs. How would that work? No one wants them, oh dear. Yet they’re gold nuggets… And not even “made-up” ones.
But the philosophy goes even further. In Germany, an average of just under three goals are scored in a football match (see rules section: there is more, much more!). This means that, spread over the 90 minutes, you have to reckon with one such event every 30 minutes or so. So if this were the only element – as the respective rapporteur gladly argues – then the waiting time would still not be sufficiently worthwhile. In this respect, there is an obligation to also recognise other elements that can build up the suspense. These would consist in the description of successful actions, for which not only one measure could be used — did it become a goal or not — but which one could simply classify as successful, great, fascinating, high class, comparable to a circus act. In Germany, a great attack that doesn’t result in a goal is tersely dismissed with, for example, “it lacks effectiveness” or “he has to play faster” or “he has to pull the trigger”. WHO WANTS TO HEAR THAT?
The highlighting of great actions simply doesn’t work. But there is another aspect: tension in general is based (among other things) on uncertainty about the outcome. In this sense, it would be ineffective to draw a conclusion based on the current score. In general, any interim conclusion is tension-robbing, as is any other commonplace. What would it do for the viewer to learn that “most attacks go through the left side”, especially as the next one might be through the right?
Basically, there is the view that football is only followed by the fans of the teams involved in the game (and can only be endured by them). There is nothing in it for neutral spectators, at least this is what is constantly conveyed to us and we are inclined to trust it. There is still interest in football, in the standings, in the final results, maybe watching the summaries, that might still be possible. But watching live football? That doesn’t happen.
Nevertheless, a few devices are still switched on, yes, they are. You want to be informed – about the results and, if necessary, go along with this or that team — and you would also like to cheer along, as much as you are advised not to, by soberness in the commentaries, by defeatism, by prevented, suppressed enthusiasm, which all reaches your ears in a standard tone. Nevertheless, a goal is scored, he leads, he equalises, ok, want to know, a short (badly done) replay, accompanied by stupid comments, ok, maybe a flash table, let’s take it.
The uncertainty about the outcome was still mentioned as an element of tension. This is a fundamental one, quite clearly. However, the observation made here is this: the few goal events one has to reckon with are not enough to give one a perceived uncertainty. When one’s own team is playing, one does virtually everything (leading = looking forward, falling behind = worrying, drawing = hoping). When any two teams are playing, it looks like this: It’s 0:0: boring, I don’t watch. It’s 1:0: boring. You know who’s going to win. But if a goal is scored, even 1:1? Okay, look up for a moment. But you don’t wait for it in that sense. There are too few goal events in a game to provide permanent perceived suspense. The other aspects of the game are not highlighted, are not made palatable, do not seem to be present at all, so why watch?
2) Additional aspect of tension: betting
In Germany, everyone who appears live on the air seems to be firmly convinced that they must underpin their virtue with an omnipresent remark that they “would never bet”, suggesting that they would inevitably become addicted and soon be ruined – at least that’s how it sounds. Don’t bet, don’t gamble, you don’t do that (the truth of the statement should not necessarily be the subject, but whether it actually behaves as stated…? Whereby this circumstance in the case that … would allow us to look even deeper into German souls…).
Even if certain dangers are recognised and should not be played down here, it should at least be mentioned that lotto, Toto, casinos, other lotteries, slot machines and other forms of gambling are offered everywhere and guarantee the state quite handsome revenues, which it would be very unwilling to do without. In other words: one is certainly motivated elsewhere to “try one’s luck”, with pecuniary stakes.
Moving betting in general out of the (in this country surrounding) twilight would be a very simple way to reactivate the football spectator. Anyone who has occasionally placed a bet on a game – in one form or another – will very soon realise that this game “automatically” interests them. In this respect, the plea here is to open up the betting market. Explaining it well and discussing the fairness of it could also be part of the reporting (first general information about it, then regular reference to the odds, for example, which at the same time provide a statement about the distribution of chances; part of this is possibly provided here).
If betting on the games were to become normal and everyone were involved in it in their own way, the dangers mentioned above would certainly be reduced. According to experience and observation, the danger of addiction in betting, especially football betting, is much lower than in other types of gambling (slot machines, roulette, for example) due to the much lower frequency of events compared to these. It looks like this: with roulette, after a higher loss, you could very quickly get into the whirlpool and immediately bet an even higher amount at the next table to make up for the loss. In football, you sometimes have to wait two hours, sometimes several days, and you have enough time to come to your senses.
But even so, it is curious that one only hears these other defences against gambling – and the people spreading this hope for high ratings at the same time, not even taking into account that they are, so to speak, cutting off their own water. One does not bet. If there is a viewer among them: he should be ashamed of himself. On the other hand, everyone does it, don’t you? There you go, let’s look forward to the game together. For that reason alone.
3) Sky in Germany
It was not entirely by chance that the Sky channel was able to take over Premiere, the German channel that had been run into the ground, as mentioned above. In a foreign comparison, any interested German journalist would easily be able to ascertain that the negative points denounced are absent in the English Sky. There is always a feeling there that the commentator is tense, that he is following along and that something could happen at any moment. You can sense this even without knowing English. Reports heard in other countries and other languages confirm this impression: one is excited, euphoric, one goes along with the action, one does not shy away from emotions, on the contrary, one tries to evoke them, in oneself and in the listener/spectator. The tone of voice is an important prerequisite here, without understanding the content, and this sounds like entertainment. “I have to see this” is what one concludes from this.
In England, even a third league match is announced, prepared with such anticipation and enthusiasm that one can hardly escape this tension. Behind the microphone there are two (!) enthusiastic announcers who take charge. They are in conversation to a certain extent, but are always “on the ball”. Fringe events only when the ball is at rest. These two are guaranteed and very good at distinguishing between a successful and a failed action (without ever gloating about it, which is the standard in this country) and they notice enough exciting things around them (but also on the pitch) that they think are worth reporting and which might have escaped the viewer’s attention, but which are always a pleasure to hear because of the positive way they convey them. At the same time, they abhor any generalisation because this could only do two things: prove the speaker to be an expert (and this would be pure self-interest and would have the highest function of making the listener turn off the sound because one doesn’t want to be permanently smart-mouthed) or take out the tension with this general phrase, which resembles a pattern recognition and thus lets the event degenerate into something known, long observed and thus uninteresting.
So, in a nutshell: Sky England is doing well. Premiere was broke. Sky England takes over Premiere. Need I say more?
The ills, however, lie much deeper here and are far from — despite the palpable intention and some innovations already introduced — to make the channel profitable.
4) Conference – Single Match
Almost everything has already been said about this. The only question here is whether the consumer will accept this or that type of broadcast. On the broadcaster’s side, one should consider whether the single option – one can choose the conference or a single match – is the more frequently chosen one. If the latter, it would mean that the fan watches “his” team and everyone who watches at all only watches if “his” team even competes. In that case, the conference would be completely superfluous, so to speak.
The task of the reporters would be to provide entertainment anyway, for this or that type of broadcast. As soon as this is achieved and the list of shortcomings is dealt with, other questions might arise? For example, where to put all the money from all these new subscriptions? In other words: you can make both types attractive and the ratings would go up (..subscription figures…). Or you leave it as it is.
5) The list of shortcomings of the Sky Conference
a. A reporter
This comment applies generally, so also to single matches: The advantage of having two announcers is that the one who otherwise only babbles nonsense would have this nonsense immediately exorcised by the presence of an “overseer”. Misjudgements, even refereeing decisions that are postulated as “right” or “wrong”, are a pure nuisance and the anger would be avoided or would not even arise if a second person was called upon to give a competent judgement. This could also be the same, one would nevertheless find that even in this there is an alternative and thus beneficial point of view.
A speaker somehow becomes God – and also acts like one. The audience reacts in this way: You can’t stand that (and this judgement is really very unanimous). The reaction: either switch on without sound or get rid of Sky or never buy Sky. Or trying to make two reporters available per game. The co-commentator could also be another form of expert. Player, coach, current, former?
b. No match action
Whoever is “on air” in a conference call seems to think that what matters most is what is happening around or who has just taken charge or whether there was a chance earlier. So he is “on air” and talks around it. Even if there is an attack in progress, there seems to be no need to follow it. What has to be said has to be said. Actions are of no interest, football is no fun. This accusation applies even more to conference calls than to individual matches – although it is noticeable there, too, of course — because there seems to be the view that if you can only get into a match for such a short time, you won’t be able to interpret it properly from a single action anyway. So there has to be MORE narrative around it.
So in the conference there is more talk in generalities, or about a substitution or a yellow card, or who didn’t score and for how long, or who the coach left at home and who on the bench. Now and then, that a team is looking better at the moment, but never match action. The game simply doesn’t exist. It’s very curious that in principle they still feel something like excitement now and then during a certain ball action, during an attack. That means: danger of scoring. In the true sense of the word. Because: the marginal detail that has just been rubbed in the spectator’s face, which one has read up on before the game and which must now be brought here and absolutely to the man, is “disturbed” by this goal action. He should actually go into the game, but is still busy blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. The only way to recognise the tension he feels is that his voice changes – usually it is raised – but the text remains the same. You don’t let that seriously divert you from your course, just because maybe and right now and there’s already… Phew, thank goodness. I knew that nothing could happen and that I could continue with my babbling… So you don’t even want anything exciting to happen. It’s just annoying, isn’t it?
Of course, the realisation that there simply isn’t any PLAY happening (which would be worth commenting on…) suggests that there is virtually never anything entertaining, dramatic happening on the pitch. There are practically ONLY peripheral details. This is what the programme, the broadcast, is built on?
If this were true, one would have to think about the meaningfulness of the game of football anyway and/or (more seriously) about the acquisition of the broadcasting rights. If it was not true, then the announcer would be urged to deal with the game and convey it to the viewer as exciting and entertaining – even if he himself did not find it so or a game actually had a lower entertainment value at times.
c. Slow-motion replays
If a goal is scored somewhere, it is immediately passed to that place. However, instead of the goal being played back in its entirety in the original setting and at the original game speed, you only see slow-motion replays from an estimated eight special cameras, from as many angles.
This is classified as a “gross misdemeanour”. The actual quality of the action can only be properly and well judged in the top view AND the original speed. The reason for this: this is the usual speed at which one moves oneself and which one knows well, of course also from the transmissions. The slow motion can only be enlightening if you have seen the original. The top view should always be offered, again because of habit, but also because of the better overview. So: no slow-motion replays, not in the first place, but at least once play the complete scene in the making and with the conclusion, captured by the main camera.
By the way, this even applies to single-game broadcasts (even extended to public broadcasters). Because: the assumption that everyone is permanently glued to the captivating reportage is erroneous. You might have tuned in (for once), you have visitors, you chat about this, that, you are in company, you nibble on some crisps or enjoy a beer or a glass of wine. The focus is not on the game at all. It just passes by, partly even from old tradition, from times when it was still fun.
Since the announcers don’t manage to build up the tension with the standard drivel anyway, at least with the attack that introduces the goal, it happens that you are torn out of your deviant activities by a goal. But this alone would have been quite enjoyable to watch, wouldn’t it? If we’re going to watch football, then please let us have a goal now and then?
If only slow-motion replays are played (as is the case in the conference), then the viewers are missing out in this respect even during the individual matches.
d. Giving away when it’s exciting
Every speaker in the conference seems to be guided only by their airtime. Apart from the fact that there has long been a conviction that the commentators actually feel no tension at all and have long since lost their sense of what might interest the viewer and when and what would make them feel tension, they usually give away from the conference game in progress when something is actually happening.
So an action is in the making and you just want to see its conclusion, even if you also know very well as a spectator, suspect, that it probably won’t result in a goal. There should always be an action coming to a conclusion, at least. Often, the action moves on in ongoing scenes, which simply doesn’t work at all and lacks any sensitivity or joy in what is happening, or rather what the viewer is forced to take in: Here, too, nothing happens.
Particularly conspicuous – and thus extremely disturbing and an even worse report card for the live commentator (there is not yet a grade worse than 6, but it would be justified here; “insufficient” is MUCH too lenient, isn’t it?) — is that often the one on air absolutely wants to continue while the attack is going on and one senses that something could happen. It often happens that even the person responsible for the switch simply can’t bring himself to pass on. He just stays on it, although the speaker has already said goodbye with a “maybe there’s more going on in Frankfurt, Günter…?”). Testimonial grade: down. Annoyance: high.
But it happens that the channel is changed anyway, because the speaker insists, so to speak. Somehow one can’t help it – in the resentment triggered by the low quality — that one has now just given away from Düsseldorf, but then fervently wishes for a “goal in Düsseldorf”. And indeed it comes: it was palpable, for anyone with a spark of football sense and an equal spark of interest in it, that you simply can’t give away here. Of course, the man doesn’t know “goal is in the air”. Only the reverberation that you then hear (and for such occasions the sandbag is recommended at home…): “1:1 here for Fortuna. That’s what I expected.” (in with a fist).
e. Goals in the final phase that are meaningless
Another very big annoyance is the inclusion of completely irrelevant goals at moments when things are getting dramatic on other pitches. Who wants to see a 4:0 in injury time from six camera angles, when elsewhere it’s a matter of 1:1 and the attack is in progress? Goal, 4-0, let’s get out of here?!
Sure, that’s only possible if the widespread insensitivity has taken hold: you’ve finally convinced us that there’s nothing exciting going on. Only: what’s the point of subscribing? Rotten eggs, but small and expensive? No, thanks!
f. the sense of suspense
Well, it has already become clear in all the individual points that the reporters lack any sense of suspense. Let’s just remember the good old radio conference, in which in each final phase about three matches were selected that were expected to be exciting or that offered this from the interim standpoint, and these three were broadcast exclusively. With the right sense of suspense – coupled with the intention to convey it – this concept could be adopted for the illustrated broadcast.
In summary, these are the points for the conference – in the sense of a positive way to improve it: two reporters, the game as the central component, always repeat the goal in its creation from the usual camera perspective when showing goals, no showing of meaningless goals in the late phase, generally ensuring suspense and trying to convey it, even if something less should actually happen.
6) An experience report from the 19th matchday
a. About the Sky Conference
The Sky Conference on Saturday, 22 January 2011, was watched in a pub in Berlin-Steglitz that had been searching for some time. The reason for the “long search” has of course long since been easily identified: there are not many pubs or cafés left that are willing to accept or finance this by taking out the rather expensive subscription for public places, in the hope of filling up the place. A solidly calculating innkeeper will certainly compare the expected increase in turnover with the cost and very easily determine that the disproportion is unfavourable for him. It is not worth it, it is too expensive. No more people come than before, and if they do, only very few.
The few who hold on are either aficionados themselves who simply don’t want to give it up, or their pub is doing so well that this item doesn’t matter, or else they have become so unique – due to the large number of cancellations by competitors – that it just about pays off. Three possibilities – but all not necessarily in Sky’s favour.
So this rather unique pub in the wider area – one given over to smokers due to the required but adhered to maximum square footage – did fill up reasonably well at kick-off time around 3.30pm. The sound was switched on, so that the flawless confession was made that they had met here to watch football.
The different passions or simply motives for this “trivial pursuit” could not be consistently identified, as most of the people followed the games silently over their beers, infected by the lack of emotion spread by Sky. There was hardly a single emotional outburst, so that no uniformity in terms of fan relations was discernible. Only a group of about five cheerful fellows in their early to mid-30s had a verbal contribution to make now and then. But even the reason for this remained undisguised and tied in with one of the general points of criticism: the boys had organised a joint betting game, of course in the usual, admittedly incorrect but nevertheless halfway tried and tested form of everyone submitting concrete result tips, and one point being awarded for the correct tendency, two points for the correct difference (except in the case of a draw), three points for the exactly correct result, and in addition surely something like an overall season rating being produced, the winner of which presumably wins a handsome prize in the double-digit euro range, which — after recognising and subtracting the irony — is already enough to ensure sufficient excitement during the observation (thus, after all, is relatively far removed from gambling addiction, which allegedly endangers livelihoods). In any case, these boys had thereby “artificially” created their fun and their inevitably (for little money) created tension themselves – this would only substantiate the statements made before: Legalise betting – all top.
The own experience report on the games, game developments, game scenes would of course be quite passionate-emotional – and is for the most part contained in the weekly text –, but this emotional part was almost completely absent with regard to the observers assigned to the description.
The first fade-in was from the Dortmund vs. Stuttgart match. After a few minutes of nothing more than peripheral events – who was on the bench, what personnel changes had been made compared to last week’s line-up and what were the reasons for them, plus other details that were neither worth remembering nor even remotely interesting – the players first left the field (without commenting on a single scene, of course), only to become ear-witnesses to the same completely irrelevant and uninteresting standard blah blah on the next pitch. Gameplay? Inexistent or simply ignored, passed over? It’s not fun.
The first match scene occurred within the live pictures again in Dortmund. There was a quite well-played, dangerous situation – completely ignored by the announcer in the making — in which Lewandowski suddenly had a free shot in the penalty area. The emotional moment, which was actually impossible for the announcer to miss at that moment, even if one believed him to be capable of it after hearing it, was captured in such a way: “Lewandowski…”, whereby he actually raised his voice to the last syllable of the pronunciation of the name, thus suggesting or spreading a kind of tension for that tiny moment. Other than that, nothing. Not a “great play” or a “dangerous”, a “wow, that was close” or any other comment suggesting emotion appropriate to the situation. What could have caused him to ever become a football supporter? Or is he not? Did he just choose a career as a presenter over shovelling coal in a millimetre decision? However, the error analysis was also omitted, presumably because he was just reporting on the good neighbourly relationship of the two outfield players and had already almost been thrown off track by some kind of goal situation, but picked up the thread again. To the delight of the broadcaster, who has set itself the goal of seeing another 50% of subscriptions cancelled by the end of the year … But no one in charge is guaranteed to listen, so the man is well protected.
The only comment that could be caught in the pub was: “What the fuck are you talking about?”. How right the man was about that…
At Kaiserslautern against Bayern, the announcer tried to convince you after the 0:2 that nothing was happening at Lautern. But at the same moment we saw a very good attack with a goal, and above all, before the 0:2 he had noted the very good order of the Palatinate and a pomaded game of Bayern.
What kind of story would he like to tell? It’s a story without a punchline, one that oscillates between mistakes on the one hand and catastrophic performances on the other, and is constantly oriented towards the intermediate score, which he believes could be explained on the basis of every single scene of the game, as a “true expert”, which is how he presents himself.
In the next attack, Lautern consequently scored the next goal, which did not put him off his stride at all, but he simply changed to “sleepy back team that invited the opponent to score” (this is not authentic, but only exemplary; an exact wording is not remembered).
So the game was now declared exciting, but this circumstance was blamed on Bavarian negligence, although that didn’t make much sense either.
Freiburg vs. Nuremberg was a sleep-in anyway – if you believed his words, but this applies to every game broadcast on Sky –, however, we were told the following really funny story and one is inclined to suggest him as author or reader or successor for “Mad” or Alfred E. Neumann: Freiburg was leading 1:0, it was about the 60th minute. The explanation went like this: “The Freiburg lead is deserved”. A little later: “That’s what I call effectiveness. They used their only goal-scoring chance to take the lead straight away.” Well, to a thinking person – and with that adjective the gentleman must unfortunately bow out – this would be exactly the description for “lucky”, whereby one might very well consult the number of Nuremberg chances for the purpose of determining this. However, even if Nuremberg had zero chances, it would still be sufficiently lucky to take the only one of their own – if that were true at all. On the other hand: who cares about “truthfulness” when the clear plan is to get rid of subscribers?
Consequently, the score was also 1-1 in this game a very short time later, whereupon, if he had a shred of logical understanding left, he did so slightly pensively, not without receiving the recommendation from the author here in spirit to please declare “the draw” “deserved” at the next fade-in.
And so it happened, but one would by no means like to blame prophetic abilities for this, merely the ability to see through a primitive mind. “The draw has long since been deserved,” he reached the agreement with himself, intending to save face with the “long since”. “When I spoke earlier the 1:0 was deserved and now it has become the 1:1.” Because: “Nuremberg had gone up.” That’s probably how he justifies inwardly – if he cares about anything at all that would allow conclusions to be drawn about “sanity”.
In the remaining time of the game, which was extremely exciting in Dortmund (especially) and at all the other places — because the results were close everywhere — the Munich 4:1 (85th minute) and the 5:1 (injury time) were played in epic breadth, and after the 4:1 this game was given an additional 2 minutes of broadcasting time, in which nothing more than a sure winner was seen, while at all the other places it was hotly contested, if only because of the goal difference. Unbelievable, shocking, such an impertinence and such stupidity, tantamount to a prank by a bourgeois, for which one would have nothing but laughter – if one didn’t have to pay something somewhere for the enjoyment offered here.
In stoppage time, the beloved reporter spread the brilliant knowledge that “Dortmund is actually still going for the three-pointer here” . After all, they had led the entire game in a highly superior manner, the equaliser was ridiculous and completely undeserved, they are at the top of the table and are playing in their own stadium. What, pray tell, did he think they should have been playing for? Take time off the clock to swing the 1-1? No, stupid, dumber, reporters. There is no other way to put it. In this case, the result of the intelligence test is so unambiguous, because he expresses his surprise at the fact that Dortmund tried to do so. Whereby one could also draw the conclusion: actually, his job wouldn’t be so bad. If only one didn’t have to constantly fear that a goal would tear one out of all dreams of a conclusion, since that goal was scored long ago?
Incidentally, this very description was the expression of the tension that even he almost felt, apparently without knowing it. There was really something going on. He was surprised, though, because normally nothing would be going on, right? Dortmund, by the way, was still very close even in those minutes. One had somehow grudged it to them because of the great performance – as long as they were equipped with a certain sensibility.
b. To the individual matches
The conference was over, the results were known and a very rough overview of the course of the game had been gained. From the reaction of the local guests it is already clear what further error in thinking Sky has in its concept: The subsequent programme “All matches, all goals” is simply no longer watched. You have already heard all the stupid assessments and comments, you know the results of the games. What else is there to know? Of course, the effect of “watering down” is a significant one and has long since been achieved. The live commentaries hardly promised anything worth seeing. Is the summary supposed to be tingling? No, you can’t lure anyone with that. The conviction exists anyway that the results are interesting, the table perhaps, but the games without one’s own participation – which can be either from the appearance of one’s own team or the involvement through a bet, a betting game – are not watched.
In the past, the sports show was the only medium to see pictures and a few summaries. Now and then you even kept the suspense and didn’t look at the results beforehand (listened to the radio) and only found out about them during the selected summaries. Today, you have so many options, especially via the conference you have just scoured, that even your interest in the sports show could wane.
Well, by 5.30 p.m. the pub had been largely cleared of guests and it was unlikely that it would fill up again for the Saturday evening match FC Köln – Werder Bremen. On the author’s side, for the purpose of broadening horizons, a relatively long journey was made (almost by force), as the nearest Sky restaurant was soon 2 kilometres away, still in the heart of Steglitz. A well-run restaurant/pub/café almost at the town hall, which has not even changed its name (only once the owner) in the last 40 years. No wonder that Sky is regarded as an irrelevant depreciation item and continues to be paid without having to think seriously about profitability. We have, of course. But will it bring in more guests? Who cares?
But when you see that in the very spacious guest rooms there is only one television set, which is not even in large format, and on top of that it is impossible to turn on the sound due to an obvious lack of interest, then you realise what level live football is at in this country today: Nobody really wants to watch it any more. In Cologne, in Bremen, sure, it will work for that evening, but anywhere else in Germany? No, that’s not going to happen. The individual matches are a flop. You need the neutral spectator and that has long since been lost due to the inability to spread the tension.
Since the sound could not be heard now, it is unnecessary to comment on it, but it seems certain that it was not a good game (which, by the way, is mentioned at least once in each) and that Werder Bremen presented itself quite weakly (final score 3:0 Cologne), especially in defence still has these glaring weaknesses, with which they now even hover in serious danger of relegation. Probably not a word about Cologne. Good performances? There are none. They certainly always play as weakly as suits their opponents, so that despite their own shortcomings they are still condemned to victory – to paraphrase one of Herberger’s bon mots in “Skydeutsch”. There is no positive perspective, after all, you are a reporter, and as such you have the job of getting through the branch you are sitting on. Above all, only amateurs who are prepared to close their eyes to the mistakes that a true professional is obliged to uncover can enjoy something.
On Sunday, we again went to the first pub in the afternoon. The match between Gladbach and Leverkusen was on. Well, first of all, the pub was quite well attended half an hour before the kick-off of this first league match. The reason? Well, Berlin’s Hertha had their (second-division) match against Düsseldorf’s Fortuna at their home Olympic Stadium in the early afternoon. So people do watch, after all. Even the summary (and presumably Hertha selected in the single match option beforehand). The channel was not changed at kick-off either, because there was no need for that, except for the request of a single real enthusiast.
During the match, individual guests dropped in from time to time, but probably not a single one more than at any other time of day. These were guaranteed not to come to watch football. When it’s on, you look at it (the score) and it’s about the same as a sack of rice falling over in China.
This game had its drama and even its tragedy. For Borussia, triumphant 6:3 in the first leg with a performance reminiscent of FC Barcelona – had chosen that very game as the “initial spark” for the deep fall. At that time, in the first half of the season, the trees seemed to be growing into the sky, the attitude “we can beat anyone and score as many goals as we want” took hold – and the losing streak began.
At the start of the second half of the season, they had now won 1-0 in Nuremberg and announced this as the beginning of a great chase to catch up, to which the stabilised defence in particular was to make the decisive contribution. In fact, after a strong opening quarter of an hour by Leverkusen, which the commentator did not recognise, Borussia worked out a very even game, which gradually even took on a tilt towards the home side – when suddenly Leverkusen struck twice out of nowhere.
Well, the comeback attempt after the dream goal by Stranzl was also repulsed – with the scene in which Gladbach appeared with almost all players in the opponent’s penalty area, almost everyone could shoot once, all attempts were blocked — and the ball was suddenly played forward for the decisive Leverkusen counterattack. “Tragedy” sums it up best there, only it doesn’t even seem to exist conceptually, let alone be felt or even conveyed, such a thing doesn’t appear in the vocabulary, because it would, after all, call into question the image of “I know everything and see it coming”. They were too stupid, that’s why they didn’t make the 2:2 themselves and caught the counterattack.
If one were to take an interest, as a speaker, because one simply feels, has to feel, that there was a lot of bad luck involved, then this would be accepted by the spectator in his humanity, despite the minimal partisanship expressed in it. You would simply suffer with them if you got the chance. All missed opportunities to advertise for football, for his programme, for Sky, and to win back viewers or gain new ones.
So now the score was 1:3. Against the run of play.
The last 12 minutes were beyond embarrassment and ridiculousness on the part of the announcer. A permanent conclusion was drawn in which, of course, Leverkusen were postulated as the winners and, what’s more, as “the deserving ones”, but at the same time it was mentioned with every Gladbach attack that it would of course be amazing if something would come out of this for them, only to switch back to the conclusion – when, fortunately for him, the next chance was missed. In injury time there was the last chance for Gladbach to score, after which he was of the opinion that if the ball had now struck, there would still have been 90 seconds for the equaliser, but that this happened after the 25th swan song for Gladbach, so at most it could have been intended for the one viewer still on air (whose role and position is now well known?!).
What was curious about the commentary on the chance in injury time and the remaining 90 seconds: the tension was permanently removed, it was negated. But when there is really nothing left, then all of a sudden they act as if something is still possible? Especially at a time when every time a conclusion is drawn, one tries to get the last person to switch off?
The alternative suggestion would be to dispense with any conclusion, which can only be seen as a lack of enjoyment or recognised eventfulness, and instead continue to comment on every single scene, preferably as if it were 0:0. That is football being played here. They try to score a goal in front at the same time and allow as few as possible, or none at all. This behaviour is almost always true for both teams, in virtually every game played on this planet. So what is the point of drawing up a final balance sheet while the ball is still rolling? If that is all – and this seems assured – that the reporters can come up with, then the defeat is no longer surprising. Rotten eggs offered – rotten eggs left behind, who’s surprised?
The last match of the day between Hoffenheim and St. Pauli was watched again after the identical change of venue. Interest among the guests: zero, except for the occasional glance at the score-sheet with a brief remark about the neighbour. No, Sky: go home! In England it works because it’s well done. In Germany you’ll only destroy your money. At least if you keep the broadcast format and the commentators, especially the tone of voice.
By the way, the final result of that game was a 2:2. You could have got something out of that, couldn’t you? Presumption remains: Chains of errors were responsible for the goals, which stood in the way of an otherwise safe 0:0, which of course would have been just as badly talked about due to the “compressed lack of events”.