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Klaus Zug on the SRF decision

Klaus Zug on the SRF decision

No more SRF broadcasts about the hockey tournament.Photo: Keystone

Ice Cream Master Zug

State-run TV channel SRF will largely ignore the national championship next season: the organized weekly program “Ice Hockey Inside” will be canceled without replacement.

September 4, 2023 at 7:44 pmSeptember 4, 2023 at 7:46 pm

Klaus Zug

When asked what structural broadcast the state-run television is planning for the upcoming National Ice Hockey Championship and whether it will be the same as last season (“Ice Hockey Inside”), the official answer is as follows:

There will be no separate, structured broadcast of the National Ice Hockey Championship. The SRF will report on the National League as part of existing organized programs (“Sportflash”, “Sport Today”, “Sportpanorama”) and online.

No separate skeleton broadcast: In practice, this means that SRG will completely ignore the national championship that attracted more than 2.5 million paid viewers to the stadiums last season and put it on the table in the “Sportflash” skeleton broadcast in the new season. “Sports Today” and “Sports Panorama” are banned. Coverage of the National League has been reduced to a minimum and is almost on par with the Swiss Handball Championship (last season just over 140,000 viewers).

What’s going on there? These are the consequences of the state-owned television’s worst defeat in its quest for live broadcast rights: SRG has lost all live broadcast rights for the National Hockey Championship (qualifiers and playoffs) to private TV providers since last season. The fee money compulsorily collected is enough, for example, to outbid private television stations in the fight for live rights to Champions League football. But not to secure the rights to the Swiss Ice Hockey Championship. So much for “public service.”

SRF Hockey

It is no longer possible to watch the tournament live on SRF.Photo: Keystone

Last season, the National Hockey League was still accompanied and honored by a weekly structured program called “Ice Hockey Inside”. Canceling this program for next season without a replacement is unlikely to meet the approval of the sports-minded public, but it clearly serves the interests of the political power: the National League, which had the honor of selling the live broadcast rights to private television. Broadcasters, now losing out with “Ice Hockey Inside” being an important national platform and sponsors are not amused. Perhaps when the rights are re-offered in four years, the National League will be more modest about its mandatory TV fees. Or neither.

If ice hockey were not that important, canceling “indoor ice hockey” without a replacement would not be criticized. But Leuchenbach’s sports generals are well aware of the popularity of ice hockey. Upon request, the SRF advises:

As in previous years, the SRF will provide a comprehensive report on the Swiss national teams. Highlights will be next spring’s women’s and men’s world championships, which will be held in the USA and the Czech Republic respectively. In addition, as usual, all Spengler Cup matches in Davos are shown on the live programme.

SRF Hockey

At least the Spengler Cup is still on SRF. Image: Spengler Cup

Ignore the National League Championship as much as possible, but broadcast Operetta Internationals, the Spengler Cup and the Women’s and Men’s World Cups live and “push” it – how does that fit together?

The rights to international operetta matches, the Women’s World Cup and the Spengler Cup are relatively free or very cheap: no private broadcaster is interested in such international matches or the Women’s World Cup. The Spengler Cup will be very interesting for private TV stations. But HCD management (HCD organizes the Spengler Cup) needs greater access to state-run television for its sponsors and may be willing to give up the rights practically for free. The private TV stations are certainly interesting on the Men’s World Cup. However, the IIHF is happy with the greater reach of a public television station when it comes to live broadcast rights for its sponsors.

So, we have an ugly situation where our state-owned television, which is funded by mandatory fees, reduces ice hockey coverage of what interests the public most from September to April – the national championship – to an absolute minimum and to an excessive extent broadcasts too much. Less important and sometimes there is hardly any interest. And this is in times of interesting developments in media policy (the halving initiative).

HCD, SCB, ZSC and? These clubs have already become champions of Swiss hockey


HCD, SCB, ZSC and? These clubs have already become champions of Swiss hockey

Source: Keystone / Ennio Lenza

Despacito with ice hockey players

Video: Watson

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