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Poor Bundesliga TV ratings illustrate a bigger problem for FOX

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FOX Sports has a Bundesliga problem. For the first five gameweeks of the 2015/16 season, live Bundesliga games on the network are averaging just 42,000 viewers. Of immediate concern is the fact that the last two gameweeks have recorded two of the worst weekly averages for live games the league has seen on FOX Sports since the opening weekend: 29,333 and 47,000 respectively.

The spin from FOX Sports is that, according to its press release, the tape-delay game between Bayern Munich-Augsburg shown on the over-the-air FOX network on Sunday, September 13 “drew 926,000 viewers up against stiff NFL competition, making it the most-watched Bundesliga match ever televised in the U.S.” Yes, it was indeed the most-watched Bundesliga game on US television, but putting the game next to NFL programming was a marketing ploy to artificially boost the numbers and hope that the network could draw new fans to watch the Bundesliga in future weeks.

What was the impact on the next Bayern Munich game shown live on FOX Sports 1? Very little to nothing. An average of 63,000 viewers watched the game against Darmstadt live on FOX Sports 1 last Saturday between 9:30-11:30am ET.

No offense to the Bundesliga, but FOX Sports could have put any game from any soccer league next to the opening weekend of the NFL on the over-the-air FOX network, and it would have done as well as or better than the 926,000 number.

In trying to boost the Bundesliga in the US, FOX Sports faces numerous issues, and most of them aren’t their fault:

• The Bundesliga schedule mirrors the Premier League schedule almost identically. Faced with a choice of watching the Premier League or Bundesliga, the vast majority of soccer fans in the US are watching the games on NBCSN, not FOX.

• Not one Bundesliga live game has broken the 100,000 barrier so far this season. The closest FOX Sports got was the 90,000 who watched Hamburg vs. Stuttgart on Saturday, August 22. The main reason for that record-number for a live game? There was no Premier League match on at the same time.

• FOX Sports 2 is not the issue. While the barren wasteland that is FOX Sports 2 is generating dismal numbers, when games are shown on FOX Sports 1, the viewing numbers aren’t that much greater.

• There aren’t as many Bayern Munich fans as we thought. But when they are watching Bayern play on FOX Sports 1, the number of people watching a concurrent Bundesliga game on FOX Sports 2 is embarrassing. For example, just 1,000 people watched Bayern Leverkusen (starring Javier Chicharito) against Darmstadt on FS2, while FS1 was showing Bayern-Augsburg. So far this season, FOX Sports 2 hasn’t been able to get 10,000 viewers for a game on its network when Bayern Munich is being shown live on FOX Sports 1 at the same time.

 

The numbers make for some depressing reading, and they’re not going to change as long as the Premier League maintains its dominance on English-language sports networks in the United States.

Plus, the reality is that many soccer fans are emotionally invested in watching the Premier League. Even if the quality of soccer on the pitch is better in the Bundesliga than England, the Premier League numbers are a result of more than a decade of US soccer fans watching games every weekend, following their teams both on and off the field, and creating so many great memories of following the English variety of the sport. With the Bundesliga on GolTV for the past few years, the league was practically invisible to the soccer public. And now, the Bundesliga is unfortunately paying the price.

It can be argued that FOX created the popularity of the Premier League in the United States, and then NBCSN took it to the next level. That success that FOX generated for the Premier League has created an environment where it’s incredibly difficult for the Bundesliga to thrive. Yes, FOX Sports missed the boat with their last-minute marketing efforts to promote the Bundesliga this summer, but at this point the best bet for FOX is to try to show more games on tape-delay when they aren’t competing with the Premier League.

SEE MORE: View the Bundesliga TV schedule for USA.

 

Average weekly TV viewing audience for LIVE Bundesliga games on FOX Sports:

Gameweek 1: 39,500
Gameweek 2: 52,000
Gameweek 3: 47,333
Gameweek 4: 29,333
Gameweek 5: 47,000

 

The TV viewing figures for Bundesliga games LIVE on FOX Sports thus far are:

Friday, August 14

Bayern Munich vs. Hamburg, 2:30-4:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 32,000

Saturday, August 15

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hoffenheim, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 2, 34,000
Borussia Dortmund vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, 12:30-2:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 42,000

Sunday, August 16

Wolfsburg vs. Frankfurt, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 50,000

Saturday, August 22

Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 71,000
Cologne vs. Wolfsburg, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 2, 6,000
Hamburg vs. Stuttgart, 12:30-2:30pm ET, FOX Sports 1, 90,000

Sunday, August 23

Ingolstadt vs. Borussia Dortmund, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 76,000
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Mainz, 11:30am-1:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 17,000

Friday, August 28

Wolfsburg vs. Schalke, 2:30-4:30pm ET, FOX Sports 1, 85,000

Saturday, August 29

Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 12:30-2:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 53,000
Stuttgart vs. Frankfurt, 9:30am-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 2, 4,000

Friday, September 11

Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg, 2:30-4:30pm ET, FOX Sports 1, 49,000

Saturday, September 12

Bayern Munich vs. Augsburg, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 40,000
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Darmstadt, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 2, 1,000
Frankfurt vs. Cologne, 12:30pm-2:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 14,000

Sunday, September 13

Hoffenheim vs. Werder Bremen, 9:30-11:30am, FOX Sports 1, 35,000
Schalke vs. Mainz, 11:30am-1:30pm ET, FOX Sports 1, 37,000

Friday, September 18

Mainz vs. Hoffenheim, 2:30-4:30pm ET, FOX Sports 1, 36,000

Saturday, September 19

Darmstadt vs. Bayern Munich, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 63,000

Sunday, September 20

Stuttgart vs. Schalke, 9:30-11:30am ET, FOX Sports 1, 49,000
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 11:30am-1:30pm ET, FOX Sports 2, 40,000

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56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Jeff

    November 8, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I think the Bundesliga is a great idea to broadcast on American tv. However I feel that there are some things that are hurting it. The Premier League also has fantasy games on espn. Granted, adding Bundesliga fantasy will not hit the ratings out of the park, my point is that I am more interested in Leicester City vs Swansea rather than Leverkusen vs Schalke even though that German game might be better to watch. And most importantly, Fox needs to put the premier game of the week on FS1 consistently.For instance, Wolfsburg vs. Schalke, was aired on FOX Sports 1 and drew 85,000 viewers and Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen, aired on FOX Sports 2 drew 53,000. This is important because Wolfsburg and Schalke, albeit two of the bigger teams in Germany drew over 30,000 more viewers than Bayern vs Leverkusen and thats an even bigger game. Why would they put Bayer vs Leverkusen on FS2? If that was on Fox or FS1, then that game draws a minimum of 100,000. Being that this is their first year on American tv they need to put more emphasis on getting the best German games on the stations that are most accessible to viewers. Thats how to build a base. When you look at the broadcast schedule its like they did rock paper scissors to determine which game goes where. Bayern Munich, Leverkusen, Dortmund, Wolfsburg, and Schalke should be on FS1 as much as possible rather than Augsburg vs Ingolstadt or Hoffenheim vs Hamburg.

  2. gargoyle

    October 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

    They’re merely using as a vehicle to promote Russia 2018. Did you folks expect anything more from these clowns?

    • OT

      October 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Not true.

      FOX Deportes is now airing Bayer Leverkusen every week because Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is playing regularly.

      Furthermore, FOX Deportes sent its Los Angeles-based announcers on a road trip to Europe to cover 3 matches last week: one Bundesliga match (Hamburg vs Leverkusen) and two UEFA Champions League matches (Arsenal vs Bayern Munich and PSG vs Real Madrid.)

      Other than “Chicharito”, nothing else in the Bundesliga connects with the U.S. TV audience in either English or Spanish. That isn’t likely to change in the forseeable future. The U.S. English-language soccer TV viewers prefer the “Big 5” EPL clubs (Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool) and their local MLS sides, while 65% of Spanish-language soccer TV viewers in the U.S. prefer either Chivas Guadalajara or Club America (Liga MX.)

  3. aaron

    October 15, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Until Fox invests in the broadcast they will not get anything out of Bundesliga. FOX has no broadcast, marketing, vision for Soccer except a bunch of fragmented coverage. There is no daily football news like ESPNFC or BEIN Football news. BEIN sports should get the contract and they would invest in it and give great coverage. There is a huge latin fan base in of the Bundesliga. Fox only cares about “white english speaking fans” not the total US fan base. If BEIN sports had it they would have all the top leagues except EPL that would give them a true 100% football channel. You would get 1m + all weekend.

    • Josh

      October 16, 2015 at 12:04 am

      They did have a soccer show but nobody watched it see Fox Soccer Daily

      • OT

        October 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm

        That’s because the old show 1) aired during the afternoon, and 2) the host didn’t know much about soccer at the time she was hosting (she does now.)

    • OT

      October 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      beIN has no interest in building an English-language U.S. sports channel that anyone would want to watch except for the clasicos twice a year.

      I repeat: NO INTEREST.

      Yousef and Nasser are “private bankers”.

      Enough said about those two…

  4. francis

    September 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    The folks who were watching Bundesliga on PBS in the 80’s are probably now in their 50’s & 60’s and not being coveted by advertisers. Younger viewers tend to prefer EPL and La Liga. FOX will have to try harder to sell the German league to the younger crowd

  5. tim kimball

    September 26, 2015 at 6:55 am

    i grew up with german football [before bundesliga] and love it, but usually watch only bayern [to root against], bvb dortmund [to root for], schalke, and wolfsburg sometimes. i watch almost any miserable epl game, even the championship, barça, athleti, and real madrid, and juventus [even now]???

    msl, never, liga mx, rarely. usa with gritted teeth.

    i do hope fox sports gets enuff viewer to keep it going, or lets the bundesliga tv go to someone with outlets…

  6. Blue Lou

    September 24, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Folks it’s simple…the BPL produces TV ratings in Asia. The Bundesliga produces World Cup champions. Any questions?

    • toby

      September 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      No the Premier League produces the most popular sports league in any sport and Champions League winners from many different teams. The Bundesliga produces one team that buys the best players from their rivals because they can’t compete organically and only 1 champions league winner in 20 years.

  7. Al

    September 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    People have the argument that BPL teams are bad in Europe that mean other leagues are better, it’s doesn’t work like that. Champions league it is not the same competition.

    The difference between BPL and other leagues is this, the people who like BPL are supporters, but the people who like other leagues are fans, people who like Real M or Barcelona they are fan of Ronaldo or messi… As soon as these players move so them. Have you seen someone dies or loses his wife or losing millions because real or Barcelona, these things happen for Manchester or Arsenal.

    I am living in France, I can tell you the next BPL TV rights will be a fierce battle between Canal plus and Bein Sport, Bein they already say BPL is there most right they need to get and don’t minimize Orage Telecom they could create a surprise.

    People who want to compare BPL and Bundesliga know nothing about football here in France Canal plus have Bundesliga tv rights do they show it not why, simple because is in the same time as BPL and they put it in some channels where no one see it.

    So it no just USA or Fox problem, it’s everywhere in this world.

    • OT

      October 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Not convinced that beIN will bid for EPL rights in France.

      beIN’s modus operandi around the world:

      1. Hire a broker such as MP & Silva, or better yet, buy shares in a broker such as MEDIAPRO.

      2. Conduct sports rights transactions “in private”, perferably without a formal tender process.

      When beIN bought the MENA rights to EPL for the past 3 seasons (after Abu Dhabi pulled out due to heavy losses), beIN hired MP & Silva, presumably so that beIN would NOT have to conduct a transaction with FAPL Limited directly (a direct transaction between beIN and FAPL Limited would have exposed sensitive info to the British government in case FAPL Limited were audited.)

  8. R.O

    September 24, 2015 at 1:15 am

    There is one piece of info this article misses and people who are commenting have forgotten (or aren’t old enough to remember). In the mid 1970’s the only Soccer and League shown on broadcast TV in the US (I believe any network in the US – Cable or broadcast) was PBS “Soccer Made in Germany”.

    Many people grew up watching German Bundesliga and it was very popular. So the belief that people in the US can’t connect with German Football (Soccer) isn’t true since people in the US did back in the 1970’s to mid 1980’s (PBS stopped showing Soccer Made in Germany sometime in the late 80’s).

    Also, toby commented that Germany League has always been less popular around the world than the other leagues. Not true. In Brazil, Argentina, Japan and other Asian countries and in the Middle East, German Soccer has been and still is very popular. I’m not sure how Toby came to his conclusion.

    While I enjoy watching EPL, I’ve always found Germany (Bundesliga) to be more to my liking. Before it was the EPL, the English Game was very rough and foul orientated also “one dimensional” (Punt and Run). The German game was more passing and attacking.

    It wasn’t until the EPL started bringing in non English Managers (Coaches) and players from non British former Colonies, that is when the EPL became a more fluid and attacking game.

    I hope the low ratings don’t bring about the end of Bundesliga on US TV. It was rough when Comcast dropped Goltv not having German Soccer.

    • toby

      September 25, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      German football was popular in the US in the 1970s and 1980s because it was the only foreign league shown in America. It has a captive audience, which is very different to media environment. In the 1990s Italian football was really popular in England because when English football moved to cable TV during the 1990s, the only football on free to air football was Serie A. But now most people in the UK have Sky, La Liga is now the most popular foreign league in the UK. It is easy to connect to the Bundesliga in the 1970s when it was the only option, but clearly times have changed and doesn’t appeal to modern Americans.

      You also claim German football is really popular in Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Asia and the Middle East. Yes it is watched in these countries, but you compare the TV numbers who watch the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga in these territories and you will find the Bundesliga gets far lower numbers the others in every region by some distances, it is clearly not as popular as the other major leagues.

      You have a right to like the BL as a personal preference. So you clearly like inferior products because you think it makes you cooler to like something most of the world doesn’t. To claim all English teams play the same way is complete nonsense. Chelsea do not play like Man City, Arsenal do not play like WBA. You see greater variety in the EPL than any other league in the world because there are so many world class coaches with their own identity with the money to buy top players regardless of the size of the team.

      The Bundesliga is like watching the Harlem Globetrotters. One fantastic team destroying the Washington Generals every week. That might be good too see once, but gets boring quick. The EPL is like the NBA. Many high quality teams where every team has a big star player that can do something so every game is close and exciting week after week. The NBA is a lot more popular around the world than the Harlem Globetrotters and the EPL is a lot more popular than the Bundesliga. The Bundesliga is the hipster league where people like it because they either have German heritage or they think it is less mainstream so cooler.

      To say English teams never played fast fluid passing football until foreign players came to England shows your ignorance about English football. So the Man Utd, Liverpool, WBA, West Ham, Spurs, Leeds and Nottingham Forest teams of the 1960s 1970s and 1980s never existed according to you. Football didn’t start in the 1992. You just a bad knowledge about English football so come up with lazy stereo-types that were never true.

      Maybe losing the US TV rights will teach Bayern a lesson and make them stop buying the best players of their rival teams and create competition. If that means they will no longer be competitive in the CL, then so be it as the poor rating prove Bayern cannot sell the alone.

  9. toby

    September 23, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    The truth is an uncompetitive league that doesn’t appeal to the American sports or any fans internationally unless they are a hardcore football hipster.

    You can’t sell a league globally when there is only one high calibre team that thrashes their nearest rivals every week. Then comes the cultural problems for the Bundesliga. German culture isn’t globally relevant so people just don’t care about German teams from German cities people have never heard of. England has a huge advantage because Britain is far more culturally relevant to Americans than other European cultures because they share a language and history. Most places in the USA are named after British places so create a greater link to English football. People don’t have to be massive fans of football in the USA to know who Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester Untied and Arsenal are and which towns they are from because these teams transcend football. Bayern Munich the biggest team in German doesn’t have that name recognition outside hardcore football fans in the USA, so if people don’t know the teams or the history and culture of the teams, people won’t care or watch.

    Also I think the Premier League is a more naturally diverse and inclusive league because they players and fans of all colors in the crowd and on the field. It is noticeable the many NBA, MLB and NFL players have got into soccer through the EPL and now follow English teams, because it is the kinda diverse crowd and make up of players who resemble an American sports league. The Bundesliga crowds especially seem too white, European and German to appeal foreign audience. You can tell the Bundesliga know this and now when a goal is scored there is a token awkward shot of a minority in the crowd to make the Bundesliga look more diverse and inclusive.

    Fox gambled on the Bundesliga being the dominate league in Europe in the future and hoped this would drive ratings for the league. It is clear like much of the rest of the world people don’t relate to German football. I also think German football overestimated how popular German football is, thinking just having a good team like Bayern is enough to be popular in America. German football executives seriously believed the Bundesliga could be more popular than the EPL, but are realising people watch English football for more than the football on the pitch.

    The irony is that the Bundesliga was the first European League shown on American TV and now teams like Watford have 5 times the viewers of the Bayern Munich in the US.

    • Tim

      September 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

      I would argue that if you live in the US and are calling it “football” youfall in the hipster class.

  10. Lou Burns

    September 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I quite like the Bundesliga, but won’t watch FS2 as it is std def in Cox. So I try to catch the FS1 games that don’t conflict with the EPL.

  11. Tim

    September 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Personal opinion but i enjoy the Bundesliga more than the EPL. To me its not hard to figure out…The EPL has been more accessible for a lot longer, even on Fox Soccer. I would give it time before jumping off the deep end. The atmospheres are better and so is the quailty.

    • luke

      September 24, 2015 at 2:55 am

      The quality of the premier league is far greater than that of the bundesliga. There’s no debate on the subject. The only thing the bundesliga has over the premier league is atmopshere.

      • Jeff

        September 24, 2015 at 3:02 am

        The PL is the biggest league in the world. But the best league is La Liga. And if you look at the UEFA coefficient ranking, the Bundesliga is the 2nd best league. Of course they don’t have many “big names” and after Bayern there is no world class team. But the league is the most competitive in the world and they don’t need big names because they produce their own big names. If you look at the UEFA coefficient ranking, PL was better only one time in the last 5 seasons (including the actual season) than the Bundesliga. So why is everyone saying that the PL is the best in the world? Only because they have the best marketing and most money? Does no one care how less they are making with the money?

        • Al

          September 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

          I think you are confusing, UEFA coefficient ranking mean nothing. People like BPL regardless what they are doing in Europe. Ex: SKY or NBC pay way more to have it, if you look you would see they didn’t care what these teams doing in Europe, what they care what BPL is doing. UEFA league it’s Europe, BPL it’s BPL don’t mixed it. More people like BPL accept it than to try every occasion to have a dig at BPL.

        • mark

          December 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

          @Jeff are you having a laugh? Wolfsburg, Dortmund, Leverkusen, Schalke are all world class teams. Wolfsburg also just gave the sausage to Man United and sent their sorry butts to the EL LOL.

      • Tim

        September 24, 2015 at 7:19 am

        What are you watching? If the quality was “far greater” we would maybe see and English team do something in Europe and they have not.

      • MC

        September 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

        I don’t like to compare leagues, but since you put it that way… BPL may be most competitive and best marketed, but not sure it’s far greater than other leagues. If so BPL teams would do better in European leagues.

        German soccer is superior to English for decades and three is no debate on that subject. Just look how national teams did over last 30-40 years in major cups, head to head match-ups etc.

        Regardless on who is better, I am just glad that soccer has fan base and TV broadcasts are available in in this county. 15 years ago there was nothing out there…glad we have these discussions.

        • Al

          September 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm

          Yes, in Europe English teams aren’t good enough but here we are talking about about BPL. Most people in world prefer BPL than any other leagues in world, it not just in USA almost everywhere, don’t minimize the force of BPL. For me Champions League don’t tell you everything why English teams are not doing well. I have to give you one example, in ligue1 in France team like PSG can rest players in there league for Champions League, they could do it for two weeks if they want but English teams can’t do that. Remember players like Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet used to play in big team in France (Marseille) but here they are in relegation teams. What that tells you, it tell you ChealseFC, ArsenalFC, Man CityFC or Man UtdFC play this kind teams week after week. Do you really believe if PSG play in weekend big game leaves all its energy then go next week, 3 days later to play in Champions League they will win?

      • Todd

        September 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Lol, last place Moenchengladbach would wipe the floor with your relegation squads. Bayern M and BVB Dortmund are better than any team in the Premier League

        • toby

          September 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          The Bundesliga is inferior to the BPL and one team at Premier League level doesn’t change that. People forget that the team that finished 2nd in the Bundesliga last season lost 4-1 and 2-0 home and away to Everton a team that finished in the bottom half of the EPL. That shows the difference between Premier League. Just look at Premier League record against Bundesliga teams in Europe. Only Bayern doesn’t get thrashed by English teams.

          Bayern lose to more English teams than Bundesliga teams over the past 4 years because they are all superior to weak Bundesliga teams. Dortmund are just the best of crap, if they were in the Premier League with tougher teams with superior players I doubt they would be in the top half given how bad English teams trashed BL teams. Put Liverpool or Spurs in the Bundesliga and they would finish 2nd. BVB are not a top team, just the best of a bad bunch.

          • mark

            December 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

            LOL Dortmund would smash the hell out of your wank BPL

  12. ElSupreme

    September 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Well watching on NBC is way easier than FS1. I don’t get any of the Fox channels that show Bundesliga games. I get NBC.

    And lets not mention FoxSoccer2Go and how absolutely terrible it is. I have reverted to using my last years streams because FS2Go dropped my stream (twice out of 5 games), or was in lower quality than I could get on the “questionable” legal stream.

  13. Dean Stell

    September 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    As an American, it’s just very rewarding to be a fan of an EPL club. I happen to be a Man United fan and there is literally more English-language content out there on Man United than I can consume: blogs, podcasts, news, etc.

    I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to have a club in all the major leagues so I could have someone to root for, but’s just really hard with the non-English leagues. There just isn’t as much content for Bayern or Juve. I love all the news outside the game. January transfer rumors for Man United have already started and even though 99.9% of them are clickbait, I still love reading them. I can’t do that for Bayern because most of the transfer rumor news is in German. There’s more accessible content for Celtic than for Bayern even though Celtic isn’t even close to Bayern on the pitch.

    Maybe it doesn’t matter? But all those podcast and blogs and comment threads are part of being a fan.

    • ...

      October 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Gloryhunter

  14. Tony

    September 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    How popular is Bundesliga in England, France, Italy and Spain? Serious question. I would imagine Bundesliga is third at best in all of those countries.

    • toby

      September 23, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      The German League has always been less popular than the English, Italian and Spanish Leagues around the world. I just think the German football officials overestimated the popularity of their league and started approaching TV companies around the world thinking they were just as big as the Premier League just because Bayern were a good team.

    • Jeff

      September 24, 2015 at 2:56 am

      In England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany people (I am talking about the average fans) usually only are interested in their own league. Of course you look on the results of the other leagues, maybe some watch a very big game like “el classico” but the average fan in these countries don’t really have a 2nd or 3rd favorite league. Of course there are some die hard soccer fans that also watch other leagues permanently but this are only a few, compared to the number of all soccer fans.

      Example: in Germany, Seria A, La Liga and Ligue 1 are not on TV – not even a short summary. Premier League is only on pay TV and only a few games. I guess it’s the same in other countries.

      • Tony

        September 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

        If people aren’t really watching Bundesliga in England, Spain, France, etc, why do we expect Americans to watch it? A number of leagues will do better in the US due to language (Premier League, MLS, Mexican League, La Liga). At least Bundesliga seams to be beating Serie A and Ligue 1. If Fox overpaid for Bundesliga, that’s its own issue.

      • Al

        September 24, 2015 at 9:29 pm

        Jeff, I am French Canadian living in France for almost 3 decades. Here in France BPL is way more popular than any other leagues in Europe beside ligue1 not other leagues is even close to BPL. It is not just in France every country in Europe BPL is second after local league, in some countries BPL is the leading league.

      • toby

        September 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        That just isn’t true because the Premier League gets very good ratings all over the world and is the foreign league of preference in pretty much every continent except South and Central America. There was a study that showed more fans travel from mainland European to watch the Premier League than any other League in Europe. So Premier League is the exception which is why the TV rights in Europe are worth so much more, because it is the only league that has a huge TV following in most countries.

  15. David

    September 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I think the simple answer why the ratings are so low is the Bundesliga just isn’t that popular here. The Bundesliga doesn’t have a worldwide appeal like the Premier League or La Liga. Both those leagues have a huge developed fan base in the U.S.What would be interesting to see are the viewing numbers of Fox compared to the viewing numbers on GolTV when they had the rights. As for Fox, I think their problem is the German league is poorly promoted. The only time I actually see a commercial promoting Budesliga games is when I’m actually watching a game. Fox should have a weekly show about the Budesliga. It’s hard to gain new fans when there really isn’t any promotion or shows about the league itself.

  16. Jessica

    September 23, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    People are cutting the pay tv cord. That’s why numbers are high on broadcast tv. All you need is an antenna and scan for channels on your tv. Bundesliga would improve if every week, they put a game on broadcast tv on either tape delay or live.

  17. Eugene

    September 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    The numbers are not surprising, since the Bayern-Dortmund Champions League Final had the lowest viewers in this country on free air fox. With only the EPL and football Pre-game shows, the Bundesliga should be doing much better with the Saturday and Sunday morning time slots. The best bet is to keep broadcasting tape-delayed matches on free air fox. Since there are so many commercials in football, it’s easy to catch a match while watching the NFL at the same time

  18. fantastic

    September 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    part of the reason for Bundesliga rating is also broadcasting and the accessability. there are viwers like me who are unable to watch games on FS2 and Fox soccer plus since comcast does not subscribe. It has an unfortunate. On the contrast, Premier League is so easy to access and able to view all the games.

  19. Josh

    September 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    This is what happens when you let the competition run rampant. Here’s to hoping Fox, instead of looking at the numbers as a sign of Americans rejecting the Bundesliga, promotes it as what it is: A better alternative to the Premier League. But Fox missed the boat on that this summer. They could have been promoting the heck out of it with in depth previews, highlights, guest segments, etc all throughout the Women’s World Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup… instead the Bundesliga fans like myself were left until the opening weekend to know even what channels they planned to broadcast the games. Whoever is in charge of Fox’s soccer department should have been fired years ago. They waste their money buying rights to something they have no idea how to market and then interpret it as a bad investment and scrap it. It’s the kiss of death.

    • toby

      September 23, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      The fact is the Bundesliga is a worse product than Premier League and the entire world knows it. The fact Fox tried to bid a billion for the EPL rights, shows even Fox know the Bundesliga is an inferior product. It isn’t competitive, less star players, less marque teams people have heard off, players are not as naturally athletic as EPL players and just because Bayern are good that doesn’t make the rest of the product good. It is essentially a feeder league for the EPL.

      Fox want to cut their loses and not spend any more money in advertising something that was a gamble and failed. They purchased the rights just before the all the German CL final thinking German dominance would drive ratings, but quickly realised this league is too predictable to sell to American audiences and people don’t care about German culture let alone German teams in the USA.

      It is more worrying for the Bundesliga as the USA is their biggest foreign rights payer. If the Bundesliga fails in America, it will kill the financial growth of the league.

      • BW

        September 24, 2015 at 2:33 am

        The US is certainly not the Bundesliga’s biggest foreign rights payer. There were big numbers being talked about for their Middle Eastern deal with beIN, their Eurosport deal and their betting rights.

        And where did Fox bid “a billion” for EPL rights? A billion what? For how many years? In what countries?

      • Blue Lou

        September 24, 2015 at 11:22 pm

        You are a real no fooling idiot.

  20. BW

    September 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Your method of calculation is essentially punishing them for putting extra games on FS2. It is correct to state that there doesn’t seem to be an audience – any audience – for 2nd choice games on at the same time as an FS1 game. But simply calculating the average is misleading – the potential is more measurable by how well their best-rated game is doing. Also, you left out the Fox Deportes ratings entirely – they pulled nearly 150,000 for Dortmund-Leverkusen there this weekend thanks to the Chicharito factor.

    What the data does show is that the Bundesliga could obviously benefit from more kickoff times and more variation in kickoff times. However, it stands to reason that US rights fees aren’t currently anywhere near high enough to warrant sweeping changes like that solely for the purpose of boosting ratings on FOX.

    Where this piece really goes off the rails is in the (now repeated) assertion that the ratings are “poor” and that FOX has a “problem”. How would you possibly judge that without a) knowing what FOX paid for the rights, b) taking into account what other programming options they might have had, or c) taking into account what goals they defined internally? FOX is in this for five years and as part of a global deal. I highly doubt that they need to be beating NBCSN’s EPL coverage in Season One for the deal to make sense. In their shoes, I wouldn’t bet on beating the EPL even in Season Five. But for example, the Wolfsburg-Schalke game did better than tennis on ESPN2 at the same time. Is that a success? Only FOX can say, but it’s worth considering. La Liga are tied to beIN for the foreseeable future – is it a success for FOX to have one of the three top leagues on board and ESPN locked out of top European league soccer for the next few years? Context is everything and just because the ratings are low in Season One doesn’t necessarily mean FOX isn’t reaching its goals.

    • Josh

      September 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Sure context matters, but it is the CLEAR mistakes and careless way Fox has marketed (or NOT marketed) and produced it that is alarming. They are headed down the same path as their coverage of the EPL.

  21. Blue Lou

    September 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Aside from the last minute and half hearted promotion of Fox’s new property, let’s also not forget that while FSC had the only daily highlight program on American TV for YEARS they devoted like 1 minute per week to the Bundesliga. They made their bed for about a decade, now they are lying in it.

    I continue to think your philosophy that the Bundesliga simply needs to get out of the way of the EPL is ridiculous. Alienating the 50,000 fans they have in hopes of attracting 50,000 more fans by tape delaying matches is silly.

  22. BP

    September 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve watched every Bayern Munchen match this season. Love it. So much better than the English league. People don’t know what they are missing.

    • Eugene

      September 23, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Yes Bayern is an exciting team, but as a whole,it is still only a 2 horse race in the bundeliga. Chelsea a club won the EPL last year is in the bottom 10 so far. Leicester City a club in the championship 2 years ago is in the top 4. The EPL is way more competitive throughout the table

      • Jeff

        September 24, 2015 at 2:46 am

        That’s not true. Look what happend to Dortmund last season. Look where Gladbach is now. Teems like Mainz, Augsburg and Freiburg qualified for the Europa League in the last years. In England there are almost always the same teams in the top 6. Not in the Bundesliga. The teams behind Bayern are so close together. I think that the Bundesliga is the most competitive league in the world. It’s weakness is, that there is no real rival for Bayern. Here the PL is more exciting because there are 3-4 teams that can win the title.

        By the way: the PL has so many different starting times for the games. So there will always be a PL game when a Bundesliga game starts. In Germany fans are fighting for good starting times so the league will never change it’s times just to reach more fans abroad. The Bundesliga knows that the local fans are important. PL doesn’t care about local fans.

      • Todd

        September 24, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        A two horse race is much more exciting to watch than the one team race that is the Premier League. Manchester City will wrap up the league by mid-February.

        • OT

          October 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

          And Bayern should wrap up the Bundesliga by November. Bayern mopped the floor with Dortmund a few weeks ago: 5-1.

          Again, other than Chicharito, the Bundesliga currently offers virtually NOTHING to entice most U.S. soccer TV consumers, in either English or Spanish.

    • Frank P.

      September 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Thank u Fox for showing the Bundesliga …
      I canceled my German programing on Dish-Network and enjoy every Minute of Fox

    • OT

      October 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Oh, really?

      Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich

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