Sans Frontières returned for a second series since its return to TV with
a change from 1988's line-up. Spain took a year out and were replaced by teams
from San Marino. The practice of holding two heats in each venue continued,
although this year, each of these second heats would feature different teams
than those contesting the first. This meant the complicated aggregate scoring
used to select the finalists in 1988 was dropped - and qualification reverted
to highest scores for each country. The year ended with a
two-part special edition, Jeux Sans Frontières: Giochi Sotto l'Albero
('Games Under the Fir Tree').
There was another change to the scoring system this year, with
double points awarded on the final game. This idea was introduced to enable
teams that were trailing the leaders to improve their chances of achieving a
better placing in the heats. This new innovation would remain throughout the
next ten years of Jeux Sans Frontières. Each heat consisted of twelve
games, and in the same context as last year, the International Final had an
extra game (thirteen in total).
In an entertaining diversion from the norm, this year saw the
start of the commentators participating in games themselves, for their
respective countries. This had happened on occasion previously, but this
marked the first time that their participation became a regular innovation.
Until 1992 it was a specific game and in 1993 each presenter could take part
in the game he or she wanted.
The Jeux Sans Frontières opening title sequence remained
unchanged from 1988, this despite the withdrawal of Spain and the addition of
San Marino. Consequently, while one of the animated athletes pulling trailers
behind them is shown in red (San Marino's colour, in common with Spain), the
symbol of national recognition carried is that of Spain seen the previous
year. Therefore San Marino received no recognition in the sequence, which also
still displayed the series name in Spanish - Juegos Sin Fronteras -
despite the fact that no Spanish speaking nation was involved in the 1989