It is not only in Germany where the return of the Bundesliga this weekend is eagerly awaited. After being deprived of their favourite sport for more than two months, and with their own seasons still suspended, fans from across the globe will be tuning in to watch games as local broadcasters, forced to rely on replays of old matches for weeks on end, scramble to secure the rights to show Bundesliga games.
In the UK, BT Sport has announced that it will show every match live for the rest of the season on one of its channels, with a live show from their studio in London, supplemented by contributions from commentators and guests at home.
Similarly in India, viewers with subscriptions to satellite channels Star Sports and Hotstar will get the chance to see games. Few Indians watch German football normally, but all that could be about to change.
Fox Sports, which holds exclusive rights to show the Bundesliga in Brazil, will be showing Saturday’s big match, the Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke live on Saturday morning local time. In anticipation of that and the rest of the German season, they have prepared an extensive feature on their website entitled “the wait will soon be over”.
Excitement is building in Asia as well. Rights holder Sky Perfect will be showing two Bundesliga matches live in japan this weekend, whilst developments in Germany are also being closely watched in neighbouring China.
Many football authorities will also be paying attention to developments. The Bundesliga has been able to start again on condition that games are played behind closed doors, that spectators do not congregate outside grounds, and that appropriate health protocols are observed. If all goes well, in the coming weeks, then it may give them the confidence that they can safely restart their own leagues again.
Whilst it may be an exaggeration to say the whole world will be watching what happens, with over a billion viewers worldwide expected, a fair proportion of them will be at least.