Major boost for sports broadcasters as Bundesliga confirms 16 May re-start

German top flight the first major league to return following the coronavirus lockdown

Photo by Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

Sky Germany, DAZN, BT Sport, Moviestar and a host of other rights-holding sports broadcasters were buoyed this week with the news that Germany’s Bundesliga would return to action on 16 May, providing them with live sport to show. And many TV viewers, not just those with pay-TV subscriptions, will get a boost too if games go free-to-air as is being mooted.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the German federal states decided on Wednesday that the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 seasons can resume.

Following a period of player quarantine, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 will be among the first games to be played when the league kicks off again on Saturday 16 May.

All matches will be played behind closed doors under the terms of a strict health protocol that has been put in place.

Christian Seifert, chairman of the executive committee of the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and DFL chief executive said: “The decision is good news for Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. It is associated with a great responsibility for the clubs and their employees to implement the medical and organisational requirements in a disciplined manner.

“Matches without stadium spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. However, during this crisis, which threatens the existence of some clubs, it is the only option to preserve the leagues in their present form.

“Today I’d like to thank the decision-makers at the state and federal level for placing their confidence in us”.

Although the pay-TV broadcasters will be pleased to finally have some live sport to show, there is campaign to have the matches shown free-to-air.

German supporters organisation Unsere Kurve issued a statement earlier in the week asking TV companies and governing bodies to “find compromises to allow free-to-air showing of matches.” The suggestion is that this would compensate for games being played behind closed doors.

Sky Sport Germany has already announced that it will show Bundesliga games for free on the first weekend of the re-started season.

The Telegraph newspaper in the UK has suggested that BT Sport is considering this as an option too. It reported that “the broadcaster is discussing making some German top-flight matches widely available in what would be a major ratings hit during the coronavirus lockdown.”

DFL-subsidiary Sportcast is the host broadcaster for the Bundesliga and will be covering the matches.

Up until the postponement of matches, Bundesliga games were produced with a minimum of 19 cameras with a further two added for big games.

Aerial camera systems, a polecam, a 6-way high-speed super-slo-mo, AR drone shots, beauty shot and players’ tunnel cameras, as well as the famous flag cam, are all part of the Sportcast armoury. One match per matchday is usually produced in Ultra HD.

SVG Europe hopes to provide further information on the plans ahead of the league’s re-start on 16 May.

Poland’s Ekstraklasa is due back at the end of the month. No return dates have yet been confirmed for the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga or Italy’s Serie A.

Ligue 1 has been cancelled as has the Netherlands’ Eredivisie.



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