Well, this headline puts out bait. And anyone who dares to read on will very soon realise that it was only a rather cheap bait on which he bit. A kind of flasher, so to speak. He will probably be ashamed of it very soon. The headline may have been jotted down after much deliberation, but it does not reflect the question that is really meant, nor even remotely the question that is to be discussed here. It is a rotten trap, a dazzler.
For the real question should be: Why don’t YOU watch football? There is a simple reason for that. However, in this case the reason is not the answer but the cause of the tiny question modification. There is actually the following bold assertion in the room, posted there by the author. This is:
Basically, nobody really watches a football match any more.
(However, it may be qualified with a “here in Germany”).
The broadcaster SKY, formerly known as Premiere, until the red figures became so fat that an external, foreign financial injection became necessary, a takeover that came from a not too distant and not exactly beloved country. From the “favourite enemy country” of the Germans, from which one could under no circumstances take anything and would never do so, because who, please, is England in international terms, a country which brazenly advertises itself as the “motherland of football”, but which at the same time, if they hadn’t robbed “us” of the title in 1966 with a phantom goal, they would never, ever have won a single World Cup, because, remember, England will lose every penalty shoot-out over and over again and will lose all the other 50/50 games as well.
Sky, however, the English broadcaster, has now taken over the broadcasting rights for the German Bundesliga, as Premiere has run itself into the ground, for easily explainable reasons (the disastrous, nay, “subterranean” coverage is, after all, polemicised at length throughout the piece). Perhaps SKY was dreaming of English conditions when it took over. Because football is watched there. With great interest. Just to put the figures into perspective: Sky pays 3.4 billion euros for the rights to the English Premier League for 3 years, while the rights to the German Bundesliga went for a measly 1.65 billion, but for the longer period of 4 years. The viewer in this country does not even pay 40% of what an Englishman pays.
If you then consider that the total English population of 60 million is another third behind AND that the English broadcaster Sky is doing really well and can even “afford” the German Bundesliga as a “write-off”, it becomes clear how far Germany is lagging behind. (Incidentally, the 2nd Bundesliga is also being hawked as part of the package).
Well, such staggering figures invite some thought (not Sky Deutschland, of course, what for?). The question discussed in the introduction becomes a truly explosive basic consideration. Why don’t YOU watch football?
It might be a good idea to take a look at what is so hard for Germans in general to digest that they are not prepared to swallow the Bundesliga brand in the form it is offered in addition?!
In itself, the case is clear and since Otto Rehhagel it has almost become a standing expression: The media are to blame for everything. The media can create opinions and moods – and make them disappear again. They can almost single-handedly ensure that a coach is sacked. This always starts with the question: “How long do you think the coach can be kept?” Any answer to that is fine. “The coach is not available.” (Aha, so the media reaction. Denial is always the surest sign that he’ll be gone soon…) or even a “Surely we’ll have to think about one or two personnel matters as well.” (Oh, we know that the coach is always the weakest link in the chain. In short, he’ll be gone soon).
The coach discussions are not something that is picked up by the media and reported on “objectively”, but they are launched by the media. A logical consequence of this is that German media no longer even know about differences in quality on the pitch, exciting match scenes, unfortunate losers, tragic heroes or dramatic but unfortunate match decisions, or even emotional, inspiring victories. A great action, a well-placed shot with an equally strong save is succinctly commented on with a “well, it’s the use of chances that ultimately fails”. Furthermore, “what good are good chances and plenty of them if you don’t use them?”. Also very popular: “In the end, only the result counts anyway. In a fortnight’ time, no one will care about the outcome.” Sure. The person saying this is a media representative (but he makes it very clear that he is not interested in the game of football and that he does not enjoy it at all). He would have the chance, though. Remembering the lucky win in a fortnight’ time or just being able to read tables and know results all the time. Long live results football! The one that nobody wants to see. 1:0, wait for the one chance, somehow poke it in, and then you in the back. Hooray! Only winners are celebrated! But nobody wants to see them.
Football offers much more than the media in this country know how to tease out. The commentaries are such bored standard blah-blah without the slightest differentiation, except that after a goal is conceded, in one scene “collective deep sleep” is identified as the cause, in the next “catastrophic individual mistakes” and in the third “allocation problems in the defence”. But if the attack does not lead to a goal, then “the final pass does not arrive”, “the passes are all inaccurate”, then “there is too little movement in the game”, there is “no one offering themselves” or it fails because of the “catastrophic weakness in finishing” (according to unreliable, but nevertheless confirmed by the fact alone, it is written in every reporter’s contract that the word “catastrophic” MUST be used at least 16 times in every match report; because it has been clearly recognised that the annoyed viewers do not throw their television sets out of the window in anger, as is often claimed, but simply change the channel and cancel their subscription, admittedly reluctantly, and also only, in the slight hope of improvement and as actually avowed football enthusiasts, after six months, but nevertheless . .. (for what good can studies be?).
If that is all that the commentators can extract from the action, the tension, the beauty of this game at the acknowledged highest level, since it is from the highest division, then it gradually seems far less surprising that YOU don’t want to watch the game either. (Limited mention can always be made that fans of a team might continue to watch. But it is not easy to offer someone who only wants to watch the games of “his” team – and here, too, there is the restriction that many people do switch on the channel and want to know the interim result, but do not really watch, let alone listen to the banter – the entire 1st and 2nd division as a complete package. League, for which the term “cheating package” is almost perfectly tailored; you notice immediately that you are paying too much and even if you could afford it and would perhaps even shell out for it from supporters if you only had these games, provided that everyone else would do the same, but you are too obviously being cheated and therefore refrain from doing so).
By the way, the probability of a successful action in the eyes of the reporters is about 0%.
Here are a few examples: The defender is played around on the dribble. Objectively, there are two possible interpretations of this game scene, with the “truth” probably lying in the middle: Either the defender was easily played off or the striker used a skilful trick. You can look at the glass half full or half empty. What the football fan wants is actually out of the question. Here, of course, one has to argue in percentages, because there is one supporter of the defending team who does not want to see this scene and, on the other hand, perhaps 10 spectators who would like to see the goal scene. If you are abruptly torn from your dreams of a successful, great, inspiring action by the bored, emotionless, condescending reporter’s view that “it’s far too easy”, then you lose your joy.
Alternatively: Ten crosses sail into the penalty area. All ten are headed out by the defence. You can safely play the commentary off the tape. Watching? We speakers don’t need to. “The crosses lack accuracy.” “They should know that against this team with their tall centre-backs, they can hardly create any danger with high balls. Or: “The balls are pulled too close to the goal.” But when the eleventh cross leads to a goal, it’s immediately said: “Everybody’s been sleeping!” “He’s in the clear.” “Nobody had him in mind.” or “Chaos at the back.” apart from the really funny comments like “a bunch of chickens is well organised in comparison.” if you don’t have to listen to the usual “the allocation wasn’t right.” – or any other mixture of such platitudes. It gives you the creeps. You want to, you can’t hear it anymore. And even the most hardened fan sooner or later drops out. Just keep sawing away. The branch you’re sitting on has long since fallen through, but the height of the fall is quite gigantic, so you’re still in the open. Woe betide you when the impact comes!
A speaker today needs almost only one piece of information: “Just tell me the score, please!” That’s enough to tell him which team is “constantly making mistakes”, which team is “always going through the middle” or “who can’t get through even in a 1-on-1”, which team “doesn’t get the last pass” and which team is struggling with a “chronic lack of finishing”, unless there is “too little movement” or “there aren’t enough players” or “everyone is hiding and no one wants the ball”. How, pray tell, is a successful action supposed to look with which the three-quarters of the gods agree?
The most popular in the downwardly open scale of meanness is the wise advice to the tired kickers, to which one could always secretly add the sentence. They look like this. “He has to be quicker”, “He overlooks the better-positioned….”, “He has to look for the finish himself” or “Too stubborn”. The required mental addition, if he would behave correctly according to the reporter’s view, i.e. play faster, not overlook the better-positioned player, look for the finish himself or not act too stubbornly, is: “… then it would be a goal.”
This much: a) the action was probably not a goal anyway, so b) it is not possible to check whether it would otherwise be a goal, in this respect it is called “smart-assery”, however, in the case that it WOULD be a goal c) then the accumulation of catastrophic (!!!) defensive errors would be the reason for the apparent failure to score a goal. ) defensive errors would have been blamed for the apparent “success” (which, by analysing the errors, is more like accepting what is often called a “gift” and could in no way be seen as the culmination of following the wise advice in advance) of the action – a perfect all-round blow from which there is no escape for the kickers on the pitch and the spectator can only defend himself in one way, in his own way, and makes good use of it: Don’t look, don’t listen, switch off, cancel the subscription. Apart from sawing off one’s own branch, which provided a basis for sitting, this is also called “there you have the receipt”.
As little further explanation is required, here is the intuitive, unconscious train of thought:
“Yes, sure, you blabbermouth is right, that was too easy, that was weak, that was disastrous, well, I see. One of them doesn’t play, the other one just watches, the third one runs behind, the fourth one doesn’t get into a duel and the fifth one falls after the model railway barrier and anyway, as I’ve heard 20 times now, it’s not a good game, no, even understated, a very weak game, the game of “compressed boredom”, this mispass festival!” And then the final sequence because the bawling just won’t end: “I would have liked to watch it. But I can see it. I switch off. You’ve convinced me. You can’t stand that kind of claptrap (? or was it gibberish?). Talk to yourself alone. But don’t forget to pat yourself on the back all the time.”
Because remember: whoever finds so many faults is world class himself. If that’s enough…