Sat.1 starts Tour coverage. ZDF promises to drop football.
For part of Stage 11, I watched the new Tour live coverage on Sat.1 who bought the German rights. When Sat.1 is busy, Pro7 will cover it. The two stations are owned by the same company, along with Kabel1, N24 and 9Live.
The coverage was OK - the same French pictures as everyone else, but fewer extra features than ARD/ZDF. Commentary was a bit pedestrian, but that's like ZDF. I like Eurosport's commentary much more. International Herald Tribune reports that Eurosport's ratings tripled for stage 10 which is unsurprising. Eurosport and Sat.1 both seem to be on the same ~30% of German DVB-T as well as DVB-S.
In comments on my last post about this, Thomas asked:
"You don't read German papers, do you?"
No. I've not even tried to buy one since moving to this village.
"I do, and I'm neither outraged nor surprised. It is a fairly logical step in light of the debate and the public reception of the tour, cycling pros, and Team T-Mobile in particular."
Is it public reception? Around 50% of those polled by ZDF disagreed with the decision (according to the IHT link above). Given all the ZDF spin on this, that's shockingly low. Is this driven by the silly debate of Bundestag members, rather than public opinion? (I've still not forgiven them for booting Eurosport off of ZDFvision. CDU seem to like messing ARD/ZDF about.)
Are German papers in a feeding frenzy? In some days, they'll move onto football or boxing or something else. Get this in context: it's not like the old scandals where we had pro teams or wives being caught with car boots full of drug kits.
"I'd also bet that T-Mobile will quit as a sponsor."
It didn't seem like that from TV interviews, but I guess they wouldn't say yet. I think if they were going to jump ship, they would have done it after last year's worse problems. AIUI, their contract expires 2010 anyway and I wonder whether all the good publicity from their tour outing in England will help them stay until then.
"Some things belong in pharmacology textbooks and not on TV screens."
Does this mean drugs or incomplete drug tests? ;-)
"If I paid German TV fees, I'd be outraged that this comes that late. But then, I know better and don't have a TV in the first place."
Oh, well! Then I guess nothing would convince you to watch the tour!
Philipp Kern commented:
"they did not threaten for a year actually. After the big doping scandal some months ago they explicitly announced that they will drop the Tour de France if a new doping case pops up. Granted, the person in question did dope before the Tour."
We don't know that yet - only one sample has been tested so far and even then, this test is controversial and has been successfully appealed against before. It's only a case.
Also, maybe it wasn't the TdF, but here's a comment about ARD in 2006 threatening to drop cycling (scroll to 25.10.).
"The argumentation is that the Tour should not be a contest of the best doping substances like it could have been the last years.
But I am probably biased because I don't watch the Tour, or sports in general."
No more biased than ARD/ZDF's producers, it seems. In an interview on itv4, a ZDF producer said they would drop any sporting event with a doping problem like cycling. So, if ZDF have dropped cycling for 1 in 189 participants being accused of doping, then if any footballer is accused of drugs offences, they cannot show any matches involving them. If you want to take football off ZDF, you know what to do...
Thijs Kinkhorst reports in "Too much testosterone" that NOS also continues coverage, like our itv. Good on them. Let's applaud any drug cheats getting caught and punished, after we're reasonably sure.