23 years of audio commentary: ‘It's almost as if you can see what's happening'

The Werkself were the vanguard over two decades ago: On 15 October 1999 Bayer 04 became the first club in German professional football to offer audio commentary for visually impaired fans at the home game against SSV Ulm 1846. Since then, supporters have been able to follow Werkself home games with the in-house audio commentary in a dedicated area in the South Stand at the BayArena. This service continues to enjoy huge popularity 23 years later…

"The season ticket here at Bayer 04 has really enhanced my life," said a user of the Bayer 04 service, who did not want to be named, at the recent 1-1 draw in the home game against Werder Bremen. "I definitely shouldn't lose my passion for football due to losing my sight." The connection to Leverkusen came about via different routes and it led to Bayer 04: "I called up several clubs back then and asked about such services. As I'd been to a game against Hertha Berlin at Leverkusen, I still had a customer number from the club. When I gave them a call everything went really quickly. The conversations with the staff on the hotline were very friendly and I had my season card ten minutes later – that was brilliant!"

Even though it wasn't initially Leverkusen but rather the years of experience the Werkself had in this area that led to Bayer 04, a great passion has developed for the Black and Reds over time: "I'm primarily a fan of this sport. But I've become a loyal Bayer 04 fan and I have to praise the club's reporters for their work. They really do it brilliantly. You really get into the game. With me it’s the case I can still see some things blurred. But with the help of the reporters for the visually impaired it's almost as if you can see what's happening."

training for audio commentary reporters

The service has now become standard at all the stadiums in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 and is also offered at many games in the third division and Regional Leagues. Visually impaired fans have their seats in Block H4 in the South Stand at the BayArena. They follow the audio commentary via headphones and are able to keep up with the course of the action and also enjoy the atmosphere at the stadium. Next to them are the reporters for the visually impaired who exclusively provide commentary on the game live and in turn – and that places a number of demands on them. Being able to talk quickly is a must for a reporter for the visually impaired. It's not just the case of saying the pass from one player to another. Information of where the players are on the pitch is also important. Equally, how the next player in the move is acting. In addition, the reporters have to convey the atmosphere at the ground to the fan.

Blinden-Reporter bei Bayer 04: XX

The Werkself games are not reported on by volunteer commentators; many of the team for the visually impaired are trained journalists. All of them often have to keep training ahead of games to be able to give visually impaired fans the best possible impression of the match. And the final whistle is not the end of the job. Analysis and reflection on the commentary is on the agenda after the game.

audio commentary against schalke 04

The next audio commentary is available at the forthcoming home game for the Black and Reds. The Werkself entertain promoted Schalke 04 for the first time under new head coach Xabi Alonso on Saturday 8 October (kick-off: 15.30 CEST). Any questions you have on this service can be sent via email to the Bayer 04 fan liaison team (

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