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ARD posts lacklustre audience for DFB-Pokal final

Saturday evening’s DFB-Pokal final between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen was watched by an average audience of 7.01 million viewers on German public broadcaster ARD as the figure fell well short of those generated in previous years.

ARD’s audience for Bayern’s 4-2 win at Berlin’s Olympiastadion was equal to a viewing share of 26.6 per cent, a marked fall on previous finals.

Between 2013 and 2019, the German free-to-air audience for the DFB-Pokal final fell below an average of 10 million just twice. This came in 2017 (9.82 million viewers for Eintracht Frankfurt-Borussia Dortmund) and 2019 (9.96 million viewers for RB Leipzig-Bayern Munich).

The 2014 final between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund was watched by an average of 14.27 million viewers on ARD, equal to a 48-per-cent share.

An additional 440,000 viewers watched Saturday’s final on German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland, according to German media website DWDL.

ARD’s flagship Saturday-evening Bundesliga highlights programme has also struggled to reach its previous audience levels since the German top flight resumed in the middle of May without fans at stadiums.

ARD’s ‘Sportschau’ programme registered an average of 3.3 million viewers after the resumption of the league, a sharp drop on the average of 4.81 million viewers reported before the Bundesliga’s suspension.

Axel Balkausky, ARD’s sport co-ordinator told Germany’s DPA news agency at the start of June: “We see at the moment a noticeable decline in interest.

“I don’t know if this not-so-outstanding viewer interest is also a protest [against the resumption of the league]. But football doesn’t seem to matter as much to some people at the moment as it usually does.”

Meanwhile, Saturday afternoon’s women’s DFB-Pokal final was watched by an average of 2.65 million viewers (an 18.2-per-cent share) on ARD. The trophy was lifted by VfL Wolfsburg, who defeated SGS Essen following a penalty shootout.