Not even the German national soccer team slowed down the fall in TV ratings at the World Cup for controversial hosts Qatar. On the contrary: The first game of the team of national coach Hansi Flick in the desert spectacle on early Wednesday afternoon made it particularly clear how big the reservations are and how little enthusiasm the fans have for this World Cup. The quota crash is drastic.
On average, fewer than ten million people watched the game against Japan. In the 1:2 bankruptcy, only 9.230 million interested parties had switched on the ARD, as AGF video research calculated on Thursday. This resulted in a market share of 59.7 percent. Even if this is the best value so far at the World Cup in Qatar, the differences are striking compared to the final tournament in summer 2018 in Russia.
The reasons are being sought. "It can be different - it's clear to me that this World Cup in this form, at this unusual time of year and with the many other accompanying circumstances in Germany, is simply not so well received," said ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky.
Four years ago, the ARD and ZDF broadcasts of the three group games of the German teams attracted an average of more than 25 million people to the television sets - including the afternoon game against South Korea. This did not include the millions of fans at the public viewing, which will now be canceled in November.
The hitherto self-perpetuating World Cup has stumbled considerably this year. The numbers were weak for the first three days that ZDF broadcast. Even the opening game on Sunday afternoon between the hosts and Ecuador with 6.209 million people was almost four million fewer than the opening match of 2018 between Russia and Saudi Arabia on a Thursday.
Sunday will be decisive for ZDF World Cup team boss Christoph Hamm. Then the second Germany will broadcast against Spain at 8 p.m. It's all or nothing for the DFB team. "This football classic in prime time should provide further information on how this tournament is received," said Hamm.
Balkausky is also cautious when it comes to forecasting quotas. "I don't think there will be any big leaps up," he said. "Since this certainly also depends on the German national team progressing, we should also wait and hold back with forecasts."
In other parts of the world, however, the World Cup is not viewed as critically as in Germany. The world association FIFA published media data from various countries on Thursday, which showed, for example, for Brazil, France and Great Britain in some cases significantly higher television ratings during the opening game than at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 5.05 million TV viewers watched the first game of this tournament on French broadcaster TF1. Four years ago it was only 3.83 million.
However, FIFA also withheld some information important for classification in its communication. The opening game of the 2018 World Cup took place on a Thursday at 5 p.m. The first game in Qatar, on the other hand, kicked off at the same time on a Sunday, when more people are watching TV anyway.
The world association also announced that the ratings in Ecuador for the opening game in 2022 were 109 percent higher than the best values of the two past World Cups. However, this time the South American country was also the opening opponent of hosts Qatar, while they did not play at the 2018 World Cup.
In Germany, the ratings for the first German World Cup game fell dramatically compared to 2018 on Wednesday. An average of 9.230 million viewers watched the 2-1 defeat against Japan, according to AGF video research on Thursday. At the World Cup four years ago, ARD and ZDF each reached an average of more than 25 million people in the three group games of the German team. These comparison figures were not mentioned in the FIFA statistics.