RTL, ZDF score ratings triumph with winter sports

BERLIN — German webs RTL and ZDF proved Sunday that it’s possible to notch up top ratings in Europe’s biggest market for a sports event that doesn’t feature a soccer ball.

Private web RTL got a 27.7% market share (7.65 million viewers) for the Sunday evening finale of the Four Hills ski jumping tournament from the Austrian resort of Bischofshofen, won by an obscure 21-year-old Norwegian who had earned his living as a plumber until last summer, while pubcaster ZDF had a 21.5% market share (4.03 million) for its Sunday afternoon broadcast of the last leg of a cross country ski tournament, won by German Tobias Angerer.

On Sunday morning, ZDF got 33.7% (4.32 million) for another cross country event.

German webs have been trying to build up non-soccer sports out of a fear that fees for the rights for the national game, soccer, will one day be beyond their reach or only available on pay TV.

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