How TV fills the Olympic gap

© kovop58 /

From morning to evening Olympia on TV – many sports fans had been looking forward to these weeks. Vain. But the broadcasting of the summer games in Tokyo 2021 is also uncomfortable for the broadcasters – and it leads to some problems.

How many hours of TV program are canceled?

ARD and ZDF had planned a total of around 260 hours of live reporting in the Olympic Weeks, as well as reporting in the news and magazine programs. “We cannot fill the program with sports, not in the beginning,” said ZDF sports director Thomas Fuhrmann. Since the European football championship had also been postponed, the first had to “pound about 200 hours of a replacement program”, as the ARD chairman Tom Buhrow told the “Mitteldeutsche Zeitung”. The numbers at ZDF are similar.

What is the financial impact?

There are no savings effects from the loss of the Olympic Games and the European Football Championship this year. “It will be more expensive,” said the ARD chair. Because “both major events will be rescheduled next year”. And the replacement program also costs.

What does the shift mean for planning?

The almost two-year preparation of the TV channels for Tokyo was in vain. Even if not everything has to be redesigned for the coming year, in many areas it starts all over again. “One problem is that we actually have to start preparing for the Olympics in 2022 in Beijing,” said the ZDF sports director.

What are the uncertainties?

“I look with interest at all reports from Tokyo,” said Fuhrmann: “Nobody can say at the moment whether the Olympic Games are actually taking place.” A lot is therefore subject to change. “There is a lack of planning security,” said the ZDF man and points out: “Football games work without an audience, but I can’t imagine Olympics without an audience.”

What do the stations show instead of sport?

Repetitions and even more repetitions, especially films and series. “Even in non-sports years, more repeats are shown in the summer months than usual,” ARD program director Volker Herres told Deutschlandfunk. No new productions can be created in the short term, and the Corona crisis means that less was shot anyway.

What sports programs are there?

Live sport is a rare commodity these weeks. The German athletics championships on the second weekend in August in Braunschweig are among the few exceptions. According to the organizers, ARD will be broadcast live on the main program for almost three hours on Saturday and ZDF on Sunday. The second also shows “Olympic moments” from previous games at until August 24th.

What does Eurosport do?

The Olympic relay Eurosport hits harder than ARD and ZDF. The special-interest broadcaster cannot fill its program with reruns of films and series and uses recordings of old sports broadcasts. According to the station, the few live broadcasts include snooker, cycling and Formula E.[Michael Rossmann]

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  • Olympia4: © kovop58 /

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