Swimming World Championships in Budapest
World Cup and nobody sees it: swimming as a TV discontinued model?

Bernd Berkhahn

Regrets the lack of live TV images for the swimming world championships: national coach Bernd Berkhan. Photo: Bernd Thissen/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

German medals and top placings, world records and emotional moments – the swimming world championships have many highlights. But they are largely withheld from German television viewers.

Florian Wellbrock and Co. swim the most successful world championships for many years, but the general public at home are denied live pictures.

In German TV there are no direct transmissions from the Hungarian capital either on public broadcasters or on niche channels. Is a core Olympic sport sinking into no man’s land?

Already more medals than in 2019 and 2017

The impression must undoubtedly be created. The lack of TV presence disappoints the protagonists. “That’s a pity. We would think it would be good if our young swimmers in Germany could follow these championships. We shine here and it’s fun for us to experience these championships and I think on TV too, »said long-distance national coach Bernd Berkhahn. The World Championship silver races by Lukas Märtens (400 meters freestyle), Anna Elendt (100 meters breaststroke) and Florian Wellbrock (800 meters freestyle) were just as much an advertisement for German swimming as were many other finals with some good German placements.

“You can see when you get close to your personal best that you also have good chances of making the final. Also because in some fields the level is not quite as high as expected. Our athletes take advantage of these opportunities. That’s great, that’s fun, »said Berkhahn. Also with a view to the fact that there are other extremely promising races by Florian Wellbrock over 1500 meters freestyle and down sunday exists in open water.

“That’s why it would have been desirable if the public service had reported. But that’s the way it is. We have to put up with that, »said Berkhahn. The German pool team has already collected more medals than in 2019 and 2017.

Swimming World Championship without presence on German television

ARD and Eurosport have for the World Championships no broadcasting rights. They are on ZDF. But: “Due to the short-term nature of the appointment, we decided to only report for information in a very intensive sporting year. Our capacities are limited, »said ZDF sports director Thomas Fuhrmann of the German Press Agency.

The World Cup, which was supposed to take place in Fukuoka, Japan, had been postponed to the coming year due to the corona pandemic. At the beginning of February, however, Budapest also jumped in as the host city of the 2022 World Cup – albeit in June instead of May.

“Maybe there will be international championships again soon, which will be broadcast,” said Berkhahn and, like the athletes, was reassured by Fuhrmann. «The importance of swimming has not been lost. You can see that from the fact that we are broadcasting at the finals this weekend and the European Championships in Rome and will do it again at the World Championships, »said the ZDF sports director.

Certainly a consolation, albeit a weak one for the athletes. “It’s a pity that the World Cup has no presence on German television. But it’s the finals that will be broadcast this week. We are happy about every minute of broadcasting, »said breaststroke swimmer Lucas Matzerath and Anna Elendt added: «Anyone who wanted to see it found live streams somewhere. And at the finals on Sunday you can see us in one day.” The German swimming championships are taking place at the same time as the finals in Berlin.