Posted by: Yorgos | June 29, 2008

Text 22 – Euro 2008 disaster

In the recent football (or soccer for some people) game between Germany and Turkey, the TV signal was down for about 5 minutes and this was hailed as a disaster by…well…everyone. It turned out that it was the bad weather’s fault that millions of people around the world could not watch the game for 5 whole minutes, so you can’t actually blame someone for it. But the disaster was still there to be talked about, analyzed, lamented and whatnot.

But what was the real problem? Was it that all these people could not watch and enjoy this game for 5 minutes? Of course not. If you exclude the Germans and Turks of the audience, then everyone else was only mildly interested (even if they do claim otherwise) and quickly forgot about the 5 missing minutes. The real problem was that people were losing money. No TV viewers means less ads, less ads means less money. I will accept the organizers’ worry as legitimate. They don’t want to lose money. Then why are we so frustrated? Why are we looking for someone to blame? These 5 minutes probably saved us some money, which we would have paid to buy things that aren’t really useful. Unfortunately, we feel sympathy for the poor people who lost money. I find this frustrating.

Another conclusion I drew from this so-called disaster is that football now is nothing more than a spectacle. Well, nobody actually needed this even to realize that, but it did make it more prominent. If what happened was truly a disaster then the first Euros and the first World Cups were a complete failure, since there was no TV coverage and people could not travel across the world to watch the games, so only locals were watching them (and they don’t bring new money in a country).

Lots of consequences come into my mind. But there is no point in elaborating. The situation is already sad as it is…



  1. Doesn’t Debord specifically list competitive sports leagues as spectacle?

    I also wonder if you could say that the issue came not so much from people losing money (cause it’s not like the advertisers hadn’t already paid for their time spots) but that we are so reliant on technology and we expect it to work seamlessly for us all the time? Not so much just that 5 minutes of game play was missed (although I’m sure that actually was an issue for many people) but that we feel affronted that the technology didn’t do what we wanted it to do.

  2. I think in the case of television the technology is cunningly invisible. It has unfortunately become natural to see something on TV (to watch it LIVE), just like seeing something up close. So, I don’t think the technology in this case is the problem…not so much anyway. The fact is that I heard journalists talking about how some people were losing money and that someone should be blamed for that. And some people did lose money. I am not sure how the advertising system works, but everything counts.

    And sports as a spectacle does sound like Debord, but I don’t remember it. You do know better, however.

  3. Brilliant!

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