Imagine that you’re a football fan. Your team wins the treble, including the coveted Champions league, beating the biggest teams in Europe in the process. New fans are pouring in from all corners, your team’s popularity is about to explode — and then you find out you can’t even watch your team on TV.
This is the plight that is faced by Indian fans of Bayern Munich, as Star Sports seems set to drop the Bundesliga this season. That season kicks off in less than two weeks, but Star India has not negotiated a new deal to broadcast the Bundesliga. This means that in about two weeks, the Indian subcontinent — a region of over 1.7 billion people — will have no (legal) means of watching one of the top five leagues in Europe and the home of the Champions League winner.
Hi! We do not have the broadcast rights for Bundesliga.— Star Sports Football (@StarFootball) September 8, 2020
As an Indian Bayern fan who is about to be left in limbo, I find this state of affairs tragic. As a writer for this blog, I can tell you that Indians make up the second largest contingent of our visitors, and monthly numbers from the region have been steadily going UP, commensurate with the league’s increasing popularity in the country. To ax the broadcasts now kills that growth and potential for the future.
This feeling of tragedy is exacerbated by the fact that Bayern literally JUST won the Champions League, in a campaign and final that was watched by millions of people worldwide. Now would have been the perfect opportunity to market the league as the home of the best team in Europe, and it could have been a watershed moment for the league in the region. Football has exploded in India since Bayern last won the treble: interest in the 2020 champions should be a unique incentive for a broadcaster to picked the league up for the coming years.
Instead, nothing is what we get. If you’re a fan of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Gladbach, Leverkusen, and so on — in India, you’re fresh out of luck. It seems that, even after the league’s best team captured the ultimate prize, Star won’t even fork over 1.5 million dollars per season to renew the league’s broadcasting deal. This is the same corporation that pays over 7.5 million dollars per match to broadcast the Indian Premier League (i.e. cricket).
Honestly, this article is just a plea for help. Someone, please get the Bundesliga on TV next season! The rights are dirt cheap, and the fans are committed. Please, don’t let this beautiful league go to waste.