Fans watch the game in a bar in Berlin, Germany, May 16 2020. Picture REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCHE
Fans watch the game in a bar in Berlin, Germany, May 16 2020. Picture REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCHE

Berlin — The restart of the Bundesliga behind locked doors on Saturday attracted more than 6-million viewers watching in Germany, a record for broadcaster Sky, according to specialist website

When the German league resumed on Saturday after a two-month break due to the coronavirus, Sky had 3.68-million viewers watching on its subscription TV channels in Germany. The domestic figure is more than double the usual audience for a typical round of Saturday matches.

In addition, 2.45-million viewers watched the “Konferenz” — a simultaneous live broadcast of the five afternoon games, where coverage moved from stadium to stadium.

In the day’s main game, Erling Braut Haaland scored the first German league goal since mid-March to help Borussia Dortmund rout rivals Schalke 4-0 and stay in the title race with Bayern Munich.

A spokesperson for the German Football League told AFP the matches were televised by more than 70 broadcasters worldwide, all on previously agreed deals.

With Bundesliga matches played behind locked doors in near-empty stadiums, Sky Germany broadcast the “Konferenz” on its free-to-view Sports News Channel. The idea was to discourage fans in Germany from meeting up to watch matches in places with a Sky subscription.

When Saturday afternoon’s games kicked off, Sky Germany had a market share of 27.4% on its pay-to-view channels and 18.2% on its free channel. In the target group of 14- to 49-year-olds, the total market share was “more than 60%”, according to on Sunday, a record for Sky Germany.

Having been granted permission to restart after the German government approved the league’s strict hygiene guidelines, the Bundesliga is the first top European league to resume. There are hopes the leagues in Italy, Spain and England can restart in June while the French league season has already been scrapped.