What if… one seriously dealt with the aspect of “suspense”?
Dealing with who is actually watching football and how this huge business is actually kept going and what the viewer who is still responsible for it has to “cope with” or maybe what still gives him pleasure in it, eventually leads to this question: does it have anything to do with tension? Are you still willing to co-finance it – everyone is asked for themselves, perhaps after they have embarrassed themselves — because football offers enough entertainment?
Entertainment is a kind of keyword: it must have something to do with entertainment, doesn’t it? “No, I only watch the sports show because I want to be informed. After all, that’s general education”? Hard to believe someone “talked her out” like that. Or: “I just want to see this great football. I don’t care how a game ends or if goals are scored. This is sport at the very highest level, I like that. Winners, losers, tragedies, celebrations? All not my thing. A nice tackle, a great save, an artistic flight, a fair header duel, a successful ball acceptance. That’s why I’m tuning in.” As welcome as this rep would be, where is he?
The last candidate would be this one: “I play soccer myself and dream of being as good as them. I have to watch it because I want to learn. I pay close attention to what people are doing with and without the ball. Are there goals? Who is ahead in the championship, who is relegated? How did a game end? A favorite club? All not my construction site. I want to learn, that’s all.” You would hardly find one like that either. If he were good and had a chance, then he would certainly have a coach and be in a good team, where video studies have long been part of it.
Beauty, aesthetics, even an art form? There are these aspects in rare moments. But it could not seriously be considered as a selection criterion – listed here for the sake of completeness.
In the end, the entertainment value remains. Here one could first of all inquire in Hollywood what the viewer perceives as “entertainment”. What should definitely be part of it, however, is quickly brought to the point: Emotions have to come into play somewhere. Of course, this would include joy and sadness, joy sometimes also in the form of laughter. One (Hollywood) aspect would be funny. And one should assume that in a good film, no matter what type, value is placed on a certain roller coaster ride. This means that a wider range of sensations are addressed and triggered. The best and all-round package where everything is represented. Sometimes you have to laugh and sometimes you can hardly hide your tears, sometimes you are tense, sometimes happy, you share the fever or relax and enjoy. Learning content is rather subordinate, but could even play a role, sometimes even to find justifications for watching one.
If you watch football, you don’t watch a Hollywood movie. The alternative would even be free? But he should watch football because he also has to finance it. Broadcasters simply have to be interested in what might grab viewers, what might motivate them to watch again or watch more. Do that?
Of the entertainment values mentioned, basically only one remains in football. That’s the tension. Humor shouldn’t be expected, the learning effects are at most a side effect and by no means a “sales argument”, sadness or joy would be to be understood as side effects of the dissipation of tension. The attack, the game, the championship is over. You made it, you survived it, or you lost everything. Attack a goal or none or concede one? Game won, lost, drawn? Stayed up or missed, reached or missed Europe, won the championship or just been champions of the heart again? Now out with those emotions.
The focus of the argument simply has to be on the tension. “There’s a game on TV tonight. Will you come over and we’ll watch together?” “Er, why should I?” “Well, because it’s exciting?” What else could you say to promote it yourself? I look because it’s exciting, what else? However, the answer could be: “No, not tonight, a Hollywood film will be shown on free TV for the first time. I have to see it.” Bad luck, football?!
So: it’s about the tension, can you let it go like that for the time being? The other aspects are all included and examined, this one remains as the overriding and primary viewer motivation. Only the tension itself is already divided into a few aspects.
A differentiation would be, for example, this: a game over 90 minutes or a summary? The answer to this is quite simple: if your own team has been playing for more than 90 minutes. Otherwise only in the summary. That means somehow: 90 minutes is too long for any game. There’s not enough tension. Curiously enough (but certainly not a pure coincidence?), this is roughly the length of classic feature films.
But it was mainly about aspects of tension. This might offer a summary. It’s a few minutes, the highlights picked out, the goals, a few voices, maybe even a few emotions (“I didn’t allow them that” or “I’m sorry for them”), that was it and that’s enough. The 90 minutes might be the total broadcast time for all games. That would then already have the character of a feature film, in terms of length and the number of moments that can move you in one way or another, carry you away, fascinate you, knock you down, disappoint you or annoy you beyond measure.
A somewhat further differentiation of the tension is still required, even if already mentioned briefly above: there is the tension of how an action ends, there is that of how a game ends and there is that of how a competition ends. The competitions can also be differentiated a little. National cup, international cup, championship, big international tournament? The championship is and remains just everyday life and here the focus should be placed on it. All other competitions are exceptions and have their own specific character. However, everyday life is also what is more common and what would have to provide for the large income accordingly. Insofar as the text here also focuses on it: the national championship.
An essential factor there is certainly still the table images, which can change and develop and in some cases still invite you to study. Sure, the question “where is my club?” is in the foreground, but you certainly also look up or down, for your own club but also otherwise out of interest in the overall picture and in a development. Only this factor – as valuable as it may continue to be for the marketing of football – would not have anything to do directly with the game. Nevertheless, the championship and the development can be included in the table. Here, too, there is an aspect of safety: is the competition itself an exciting one?
Before going into this in more detail, the other aspects will be listed just as briefly: the outcome of a game is certainly an exciting question. When Saturday morning breaks in any German household, there is certainly still a certain amount of anticipation for the afternoon Bundesliga match day in many people. The question here is: how will my team play? But certainly also represent these: “Today Dortmund against Schalke. I’m curious. But Leverkusen versus Gladbach is also tough.” The games are coming up and everyone is excited to see what results and what changes in the table – see above – will come along with them. However, the question here could easily be asked critically: would one also be interested in how it came about? And here expressly: on the coming about over the entire duration of the game? No, that is the presumed answer. For example, your own team doesn’t play that day at all (could be a second division team or your own team could be scheduled for Friday or Sunday). The result is interesting, the pairing itself is exciting or explosive, but the way the result came about is only interesting for the summary later. Not to watch it for 90 minutes.
The final aspect of tension would be that of the outcome of a single action. So those would be the temporary adrenaline rushes that could get you to watch. These were mostly divided into hope or fear. Is your own team in attack or the opponent? “Please, please, a goal” or “Please, please, no goal”. Whereby it would already be preselected here: you watch the game with your own participation. Wouldn’t you be here without them? There is definitely that aspect. Whatever effect it has and what else could be said about it.
The individual aspects of this tension are thus examined in more detail one after the other. The aspect of excitement related to a whole season, related to the national championship: you can look at it more generally or also more concretely. In general, it’s certainly still a good reason to somehow stay true to football. The championship stretches over a long period of time and there is more or less a certain sub-event to look forward to week after week. The development in the table is certainly one of them, the positioning of your own team is part of it, but of course also the other explosive questions. Who is relegated, who is allowed to go to Europe, who will be champion? In other respects, too, the positions in the table are more important today than they used to be, so even one place better brings something.
One could “philosophize” a little more concretely and critically about the championship decisions of the big leagues. Because: they often no longer have the big surprises to offer. Only a small selection of teams will become champions. And Germany even below with a certain exceptional position: FC Bayern. In Italy Juve, but Inter, Milan, Roma, Napoli could knock. At least six teams in England anyway (Man U, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham) and since Leicester made it in 2016: even such an event is possible. France would also be too clear with PSG at the moment (2017).
The championship decision is not exciting, at least for Germany. Causes and consequences: The cause is quite obviously the gigantic redistribution of money that FIFA has undertaken with the Champions League. Anyone who manages to qualify there regularly has a clear competitive advantage in Germany. The Bavarians, however, would logically argue like this: how are we supposed to compete differently internationally? We MUST be the best here to be able to assert ourselves there – and the Champions League is the biggest thing at club level. Nevertheless, an aspect to consider: the decision no longer really exciting who becomes champion. And that displeases this or that one, as one hears from time to time.
Regarding the tension that affects a single game outcome: the distinction over the 90 minutes has already been made and should be ignored here. How will a game end, addressed as an exciting question to the live viewer. How exciting is it? Is this tension enough to get you to watch?
A few marginal questions arise here. One would be: how long is a game exciting? Another: what is the impact of many or few expected goals? Another one, perhaps not yet known in this form: how likely is the trend change in a game?
The question of how long a game is exciting is a bit difficult to answer. For this one would have to assume a few scores and developments in order to make it clear how the problem is stored. You could say it like this: as long as a game is 0:0, the score alone should speak for tension. Will anyone win, and if so, who? Everything is open, so to speak. On the other hand, there is the fundamental problem, which could also be explained by asking an alien. Because the latter, when asked how it would end, could only answer without any further knowledge: “0:0”. Because: no goal has been scored yet, why should that change? That’s exactly how you feel as a viewer, but unspoken and not even articulate: nothing happens. The referee plays a role here. Because: the longer it is 0-0, the more difficult his decisions become. Because: the closer the final whistle, the more certain the winner would be. And somehow you don’t want to be responsible for it.
It’s not very different at 1:1 either. Although the alien would already say: “I don’t know how it will end.” After all, both have met before. Maybe it will work one more time? The referee and the spectators also felt a little differently: it’s okay, could be again.
At 1-0, it looks like the result itself will of course continue to promise excitement. A goal distance is always narrow and could “tilt” at any time. On the other hand, some haven’t even hit the target yet – so the alien could only guess that the leader will also win — on the other hand, the lead is so valuable that it is defended tooth and nail. In other words: an offensive spectacle is by no means to be expected. Goal scenes are rare, so are the moments of tension or the tension that is felt. It’s only “nominally” really exciting. However, one can admit that not every game that ends 1-0 (that’s what everyone who doesn’t end 0-0 at some point) ends 1-0. So it’s kind of exciting.
The conclusion for the narrow scores: of course, it remains exciting until the end, but changes in the score are not necessarily promoted by the tightness of the game. The referee plays an important role in the often tight decisions. And these fall (continue) against the strikers. Especially when it’s a draw. He does not want to “decide” and therefore chooses the “undecided” for the “tie”.
Games that are 2:0 often lose their excitement far too early. Everyone knows how to defend and/or even extend such a lead, while the opponent – who plays an even more important role – might have an inkling that something could still be snatched, but on the other hand would know how difficult it is and how rare it is happens that he might already decide to use “strength management” for the next important game?
The term imported from the USA would often be appropriate here. The American speaks of “garbage time”. This garbage time is within the 90 minutes, but stands for pointless minutes since the outcome of the game is no longer open. You could also whistle. You only have to measure this garbage time in Germany, for example (perhaps 10% of the total playing time, calculated for all games?), but it is of course decisively influenced by the number of total goals. The influence here is not as clear as one might think. Because: due to the low number of total goals, it is much rarer to score 2:0 at all.
Of course, a 2-0 would not be considered decided from home. But then gradually in the 80th minute?
The low number of goals makes for tight scores, but breaking out of them is not that easy and sometimes difficult to imagine. It’s 0:1 and you should bite your nails? No, you wouldn’t do that. The chance of a goal falling is too small for that.
All in all, there are some contexts that don’t provide a straightforward judgment and clear guideline as to what would be desirable or how it would be perceived by viewers. Would there even be a distinction between a favorite and an outsider leading? Nevertheless, a simple conclusion would be: if there were more goals, you would feel tension for longer, and of course at the same time a much more frequent (which plays a bigger role in the next point of the individual actions and is brought closer to it) occurring moments of tension. Although there was a “danger” that if there were more goals, the games could be decided earlier – i.e. only “garbage time” would be played — the aspect that you would not be hopelessly behind even if you were behind, even by two goals, would have that greater influence. Apart from the fact that it would be fun to look at the garbage time even in decisive games, because even in this goal can still be scored often enough, which you then just accept and enjoy with gratitude.
There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from the aspect of the pure outcome of the game: this would be increased with more goals. With the few goals scored, it’s too hard to imagine that a goal will come, so you hope, but don’t seriously believe in it. Incidentally, such an effect can often be observed when you look into the faces of real fans when their team is behind. There is often desperation. They simply feel: it’s too difficult to catch up, they can’t do it. Although it’s only one tart.
Now to the last aspect of the excitement about the outcome of a single action: one would certainly be curious to see how this would turn out. However, two things stand in the way: first, it would be the frequency of occurrence and second, it would be the probability of being interrupted by a whistle. Both certainly not immediately clear how it is to be understood?
The single scene would certainly be exciting. A striker goes through freely, you hope, even get out of your chair, jump up, or you’re afraid because you don’t want to see the goal because it would be against your own team. Pure excitement, so to speak. However, the problem of frequency of occurrence is much more serious than it sounds. It happens so seldom that you find it pointless to wait for that scene. And so the tension is gone long before that. You can’t just expand them like that. In the scenario that might be imaginable: your own team is behind. Man sits at home in front of the TV. Here, too, the desperation felt by the fans is spreading in a certain way: “It won’t work anymore.” You switch off inside, you reach for the chips, you get the beer. The scenes you could see just wouldn’t give you a reason to bite your nails or wide-eyed for the next attack. “Oh, yeah, come on, play, now out to the right, yeah, keep it up, the cross, and?” That just doesn’t work if the odds of it occurring are too low. But if this one moment does come, then you simply cannot artificially build up this tension that you have already reduced beforehand. One has come to terms with the outcome of the game or is well on the way to it. But now the striker is still free. Let’s get to the nails now? Nothing will come of it.
The low frequency and thus low probability of such an “exciting goal action” occurring is responsible for the fact that the individual, even if it occurs, is “missed” in terms of the moment of tension. This is a really very relevant point. Incidentally, the speakers also take this up in their comments or under no circumstances convey the opposite. The game is as it is and it should stay that way – that’s how it’s conveyed to you, that’s how you feel and that’s unfortunately also the closest thing to the truth.
“Tell me how a game goes and I’ll tell you how it ends.” “What, and you don’t even want to know the minute?” “No, I don’t need to, as long as you pick the game and minute randomly.” Man would have the best hit rate with this simple strategy: it ends as it is.
Now the referees come along with their interpretation of the rules. Because: the striker is free and you would like to be tense – let’s say it would be an inexperienced player — but you already suspect: the flag is definitely up. The certain warning not to go into the “tense position” too early is common sense. “Don’t jump up now, that’s probably offside or something else.” So you would have learned artificially to get used to being tense. Since you have trained so well, it is of course not so easy to get it back. “It’s definitely offside. Oh, isn’t it? Great, but now I don’t jump up either.”
You are welcome to take note of the last aspect here: xxx Forgot but there was something? xxx
All around it is the case that the moments of tension are too rare. The development over a season may not have changed much over the years, although the aspect here was that the best keep getting better and stand out too much from the rest. So an important part of the excitement over a season is at least partly not given more. Bayern, sure, but with how many points this time and from which day of the game sure? Not an exciting question.
The outcome of a game is open and safe, as it usually has few goals, resulting in tight scores. The tightness of the scores is primarily due to the rarity of a hit. In this respect, a change in the score/tendency is too unlikely to be perceived as a moment of tension. “Pay attention, a goal could be scored at any time?” Besides, I see the goals in the summary anyway.”
The individual scene would be exciting, but it also occurs too infrequently to be “tensely” awaited. In addition, the clammy decisions of the referees, which always spark unwanted sparks in between when it would be exciting.
Conclusion: Football is simply not exciting in its current form (enough). An individual opinion? Everyone may ask themselves this and please watch a game without their own participation as a follower over 90 minutes. If he does it – or even does it regularly – he is of course entitled to object. “I thought it was crazy and I’m doing it again. Plus I’ll tell all my buddies that they’re missing out if they don’t. And you’ll see: soon everyone will just be watching football.” E-mail please to:
The only remaining question to be clarified is why no one from the official side is actually interested in this? The answer to that has already been given. Football is so big that you would be afraid of making things worse if there were changes and at the same time you would not feel it necessary to investigate this question. Soccer the number 1. Forever and ever?