01.09.2022, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Köln: Basketball: EM, Frankreich - Deutschland, Vorrunde, Gruppe B, 1. Spieltag, Lanxess Arena. Deutschlands Dennis Schröder (r) in Aktion gegen Frankreichs Evan Fournier. Foto: Federico Gambarini/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

It really can’t be said that there was a lack of enthusiasm at the start of the European Basketball Championship on Thursday. “It was a sick atmosphere,” said national player Niels Giffey after the surprising win against France in front of 18,000 spectators in the Cologne Arena. Basketball Germany has been in the mood for the EM for weeks, with numerous podcasts, interviews and preliminary reports. So far, however, this has largely gone unnoticed by the general public. Unfortunately, because the German national team offered the best entertainment on Thursday and definitely deserved more attention.

But that’s the status quo in a country that has been developing in the direction of a sports monoculture for years and in which some regional football league games get more attention than a basketball championship. Of course there are exceptions: the Olympics, most recently the European Athletics Championships in Munich, and a large handball tournament several years ago.

However, it will be difficult to generate such euphoria at this basketball championship with preliminary round games in Cologne and the final round in Berlin, the tournament simply does not have enough presence for that. The halls will be full and the basketball community has grown fond of the excellent broadcasts on Magentasport by the BBL and the Euroleague. But despite the free live streams of the German games, the very large reach can probably not be achieved without ARD and ZDF.

You shouldn’t even start with the theory of the hype for a sport that could be triggered by a great German success, this has already been refuted umpteen times. Maybe the small but fine basketball bubble should simply enjoy this tournament – and if the German team continues to play so fantastically, one or the other spectator will definitely tune in more.