The German Bundesliga was the first major football league in the world to return from suspension this weekend, although while football is back, it’s not as we quite know and love it.
Matches were played behind closed doors, with social distancing carried out on each team’s bench and any elaborate goal celebrations discouraged.
That didn’t stop fans tuning in to their television sets, with early figures suggesting a record six million viewers watched Sky Germany’s goal programme on Saturday, shown for free. Reports also suggest TV viewership of Dortmund’s 4-0 win over rivals Schalke peaked at 652,000 viewers on BT Sport.
The Bundesliga’s return also provided a much-needed boost for sports betting operators and punters alike, after the long absence of top-level football.
Betway said the return of major football was welcomed, although a return to normal betting patterns is still some way off.
A Betway spokesperson told Gambling Insider: "Betway punters welcomed the return of the Bundesliga and it was evident they were crying out for football from a league where players were more recognisable.
"Although most recreational punters prefer a wider spread of leagues and additions of other sports, particularly horseracing, to make up the perfect Saturday and that looks a little way off yet."
Elsewhere, the return of the Bundesliga helped Kindred Group double its turnover this weekend, compared to the previous one, with the operator commenting that betting on live football has been long overdue.
Speaking to Gambling Insider, a spokesperson explained: "This weekend, with the first major league in football returning, was a welcomed contribution to making the situation we all find ourselves in more ‘normal’.
"We could see the wish for betting on live football was longed for and an example of this was that the turnover across the weekend more than doubled compared to the weekend before. The game that was most attractive was Dortmund vs Schalke."