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02.11.2011 EFAF

TV exposure in focus

(c) EFAF

For 2012 EFAF will strive to further boost European american football's exposure on television. Recently major progress in this field has been made due to EFAF's and some of its member federations' long-term efforts. Paris-based Eurosport group partnered up with EFAF and in total broadcasted eight games in 2012 (four World Cup games and four national finals) to its pan-European audience. The World Cup games were watched by more than 2 million viewers and subsequently Eurosport lifted the live coverage of the German Bowl to its major free TV channel in Germany after the other games had been aired on the pay-TV channel Eurosport 2. As the German national final developed into a high-scoring affair with many lead changes and a dramatic finish EFAF is confident Eurosport's evaluation of this free TV pilot programming will lead to this and possibly other broadcasting company's willingness to air more games in 2012. Eurosport also aired on Eurosport 2 the national finals of Finland, France and Italy.

This is a major breakthrough for European american football, which finds itself in fierce competition with other disciplines struggling for attention in the media and in public. And contrary to common belief - with the exception of that small set of well-established sports in Europe like soccer - the flow of money regarding sports TV broadcasts mostly is of a different direction than the unwary might assume. Usually it is the sports federations or clubs that bear the cost of production, so part of the progress of this year not only is the broadened exposure of European american football on the screen.

This path was paved in recent years mainly by initiatives in Austria and Germany. While the Austrian federation AFBÖ is in longstanding and productive partnership with ORF, the nation's public TV network, in Germany clubs and the national federation AFVD had to set their focus on commercial television, as German public television networks basically backed out of former co-operation with smaller federations in all sports. German Football League clubs and AFVD set up a mutual company in 2002 and over the years cumulated funds to secure regular TV broadcasts. So the Germans could enable a pilot project for Eurosport at the 2010 German-Japan Bowl at Düsseldorf and a follow-up at the 2010 European Championships final at Frankfurt.

Both the Austrian and the German initiatives were substantial to prepare the ground for the 2011 World Cup TV broadcasts, as ORF supplied local production units and Eurosport was able to use this material for its coverage of the event not only throughout Europe but into the Asia-Pacific region as well. The broadcasts proved to be a success for the broadcasting company, which certainly was of no surprise for everybody aware of the developments in European american football in recent years. Game speed and other skills of today's elite american football players of Europe obviously may be used as fitting ingredients for spectacular TV entertainment. EFAF's aim for 2012 and the years ahead is set: to showcase the abundance of talent of European american football athletes to the growing numbers of fans worldwide via enhanced television exposure.

European Federation of American Football