The World Cup is likely to flush millions of euros into the coffers of ARD and ZDF precisely because of the Qatar factor. The public service must put up with critical questions.

Sometimes, as a viewer, you are surprised at what the moderators say. In the ARD morning magazine last week it was said in a moderation: As a spectator, you have to ask yourself whether you can watch the World Cup with a clear conscience.

Then the station that broadcasts the spectacle passes the buck to its customer, some people think and want to exclaim: “Are you wondering whether you should broadcast the games?”

The question also arises because not only Fifa earns good money from the World Cup, but also the public broadcasters. After all, the sponsors spend a lot of money to present themselves before and after the broadcasts. And the advertising space is expensively marketed.

The more quota the games bring, the higher the income. And it is precisely at this point that experts expect that the Qatar factor of all things will make the tills ring all the louder. The fact that the World Cup is taking place in winter is an early Christmas present for ARD and ZDF.

This is especially true in post-Corona times, when many people still don’t dare to go to the pubs for public viewing. Firstly, because of the weather, watching the pack in the open air is something completely different than in summer.

In addition, many cities are boycotting public viewing to send a signal against the host and FIFA. The fact that most people generally spend more time in the living room in front of the telly in winter than in summer helps the broadcasting television stations anyway.

Many want to boycott the soccer World Cup in Qatar. In our multimedia story you can read why and what exactly the host country is accused of and what has happened in the desert state since 2010.

In the season of long viewing times, games like Morocco versus Croatia or Qatar versus Senegal also generate higher ratings than when the outside temperature is 25 degrees. And for ARD and ZDF, which broadcast 48 of the 64 games live, that is more important overall than the question of whether the German team will achieve a few percentage points more or less of the market share.

Joachim Strauch is correspondingly optimistic: “We will set records,” says the managing director of ZDF advertising television. “I’m sure that a rocket world championship is imminent.” That attracts advertising partners. The better the ratings, the higher the revenues for the public broadcasters.

At ARD, too, there is no reluctance among advertising customers given the moral reservations about Qatar and Fifa. “We are similarly familiar with the political dimensions that large global tournaments entail from the 2018 World Cup in Russia or the 2012 World Cup in Poland and Ukraine,” says Uwe Esser, Head of TV Marketing at ARD Media.

The sale of the commercial packages is very lively. Esser is in good spirits that the World Cup is benefiting from the so-called Christmas rally: many customers place a lot of advertising at the end of the year.

The two public broadcasters and their offshoots aren’t the only broadcasters to benefit from the World Cup. Magenta TV broadcasts 16 of the 64 games live, i.e. the games that ARD and ZDF are not allowed to broadcast in real time.

Frontman is Johannes B. Kerner. “We are convinced that we can inspire many viewers with our coverage of the World Cup,” says a company spokesman. They want to “strengthen the awareness and relevance of Magenta as an innovative and growing TV platform with exclusive content”.

In addition, practically all media that report on the World Cup also benefit financially from the high reach that football reporting brings. But in relation to the income of the public broadcasters, these are comparatively small sums.

One has to admit that the editors of ARD and ZDF report anything but whitewashed about Qatar and FIFA, which is bursting with corruption.

There are umpteen reports, special programs and documentaries. However, critics accuse the broadcasters of not mentioning that the public broadcasters are part of the system that they criticize so eagerly.

The two broadcasters paid 214 million euros for the World Cup in Qatar in the package with the women’s World Cup – and that without any conditions.

Now a simple but important question arises: Wouldn’t it be possible to link this sum, financed by fee payers, to the fact that the respective venue guarantees a minimum of human rights?

ZDF presenter Jochen Breyer recently sat with his station colleague Markus Lanz on the program of the same name and said: “Qatar bought football, but football could also be bought.”

Unfortunately, Lanz did not ask whether this also applies to ZDF. Breyer also stated that he considers it a serious mistake that Qatar is allowed to host the World Cup. But of course he will go there.

The contribution “The controversial World Cup is a cash cow for ARD and ZDF” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.