A third of all media reports on the transfer of players in the Bundesliga [German Soccer League] turns out to be wrong. This is the conclusion reached by the study “Mailand oder Madrid?! Eigenschaften und Verlässlichkeit der Fußball-Transferberichterstattung in Deutschland“ [“Milan or Madrid?! Characteristics and Reliability in Football Transfer Coverage in Germany“], which has been published in the journal “Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft” [Media & Communication Science] by researchers of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
Fans, club officials and sponsors pay close attention to football transfer news as transfers are of decisive importance for the sporting and economic development of the club. In their research project, Markus Schäfer and Christian Schäfer-Hock, communication researchers in Mainz, analysed the entire coverage of football transfer news in the two weekly sports magazines Kicker and Sport Bild along with the national daily newspapers Bild-Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung of the German Bundesliga from 2010 to 2013, and compared it to the actual transfers that happened in this time period. About two-third of 2.132 articles were correct. In all other articles, the transfer either did not take place or the player transferred to another club than reported in the media. In many cases, the date of the transfer turned out to be incorrect.
The researchers of the Institut für Publizistik at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) found several reasons for this considerable error rate. Besides a heavy workload and the pressure to produce interesting stories, journalists could also be exploited by clubs, players and advisors for their own purposes by spreading specific rumours about pending player transfers. Those will have an effect on the bargaining position of clubs and advisors as well as on the market price of the player, which involves large amounts of money in times of multi-digit transfer fees running into millions. Thus, despite reliable sources, the news coverage of future player transfers always poses a risk to journalists. The communication researchers found out that many transfers took place although players, advisors or managers clearly denied it at first.
Markus Schäfer, Christian Schäfer-Hock
Mailand oder Madrid?! Eigenschaften und Verlässlichkeit der Fußball-Transferberichterstattung in Deutschland
Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, vol. 64, issue 3/2016, p. 379-401
Markus Schäfer und Christian Schäfer-Hock
Institut für Publizistik
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Markus Schäfer Tel. +49 6131 39-28269
Christian Schäfer-Hock Tel. +49 351 287-39896
Fax +49 6131 39-24239
Photo by Richard Boyle on Unsplash