Poker for money: Still no TV station for women's football World Cup

Even as a ZDF employee, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg can hardly say anything about the broadcast of the World Cup in summer.

Poker for money: Still no TV station for women's football World Cup

Even as a ZDF employee, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg can hardly say anything about the broadcast of the World Cup in summer.

"I'm not so deep into the process that I could answer that," said the national coach of the German women recently, who works part-time for the public TV station as an expert. "Thank God I'm responsible for the sporting things and don't have to get involved in the process as well. We have our specialist department for media rights."

The specialist department of the German Football Association is just as at a loss when it comes to the increasingly pressing question: who is showing the games of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand on television in this country, which will kick off in less than 100 days on July 20th?

"On the part of the DFB, we would like to see a large reach and visibility - both for the tournament as a whole, but above all for the games of our women's national team in the interests of our fans and partners, in order to further promote the great development of women's football in recent months," said Holger Blask, head of marketing at the DFB. "We are therefore assuming that FIFA and the interested TV broadcasters will also assess the economic potential of the Women's World Cup appropriately and in line with the market and find good solutions."

hope for agreement

Not only Ralf Kellermann, director of women's football at German champions VfL Wolfsburg with its many national players, finds it "really extraordinary and a shame" that the transfer issue has still not been resolved. He points to the similar problems in other European countries and said: "My great hope is that the World Cup will ultimately be broadcast on public television."

Is it possible that no German television station wants to broadcast last year's TV favorites? The European Championship was a ratings hit: the live broadcast of the final between Germany and England at Wembley Stadium was even the most-watched television program of the entire year with 17.952 million viewers.

Of course there is interest, even if nobody wants to say that officially. ARD and ZDF are silent on this, as are the RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1. or the pay providers Sky and DAZN, which have recently been particularly active in women's sports. Curiously, the world football association FIFA expressed itself in a procedure that is otherwise characterized by the greatest secrecy.

It's about the money

The bidding process for the broadcasting rights "has so far been unsuccessful as there have been no offers that recognize the true value of the largest women's football tournament in the world," FIFA said. In other words: The world association wants more money than has been offered from Germany so far.

FIFA is playing gambles and further stated: "We can confirm that negotiations with several potential broadcasters for the tournament are continuing." In addition, the association does a bit of advertising and refers to the "unprecedented popularity" of the 2019 World Cup in France "with record ratings".

In mid-March, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino complained after his re-election: "The rights holders and sponsors have to do more." He referred to the sometimes massively lower offers from these partners for women's football and at the same time announced that he wanted to align the World Cup success bonuses with those of men by 2027. That is the "most difficult" step on the way to so-called "equal pay", i.e. the same remuneration.

World Cup games of the DFB women in the morning

FIFA's public statements about the bidding process are surprising - the schedule was very unusual from the start. The call for tenders did not start until mid-January, and the deadline for submitting bids was 10 a.m. on February 14. Unlike the previous Women's World Cups, this time the TV rights will be sold individually and not together with those of the men's tournaments. FIFA's problem seems to be that, apart from ARD and ZDF, nobody really seriously bid for the German market.

Pay channels prefer multi-year rights for leagues. And for private broadcasters, who have to pay for the rights with advertising revenue, the tournament is not particularly attractive due to the expected lower number of spectators in the morning. Because of the time difference, the German team will be broadcast in the preliminary round against Morocco (10:30 a.m.), Colombia (11:30 a.m.) and South Korea (12:00 p.m.) in the morning - and other games much earlier.

Time is short for the broadcaster, which ends up broadcasting: Hotels have to be ordered, flights booked and visa applications made. The sports editors have to coordinate their program with the rest of the station and plan assignments. And what happens if there is no agreement with a TV partner in Germany? FIFA has no answer to that.