The Bundesliga’s annual report on the economic state of professional football in Germany was released by the League Association (DFL) in Frankfurt on Wednesday with great news all around, boasting record profits for the league and clubs. With Bundesliga clubs impressing in Europe this season and the continued financial growth and sustainability throughout the country, German football’s stock continues to rise prominently.
Record profits for the Bundesliga
The DFL’s published report boasts record profits for both professional leagues and clubs. For the first time, all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga recorded a total revenue of more than €2 billion. This sees an increase of €140 million from last year, a 7.2 percent rise. In the last decade, the league has doubled its total revenue.
Even more impressive perhaps is the fact that the league recorded a profit of €55 million after taxes. 14 of the 18 Bundesliga clubs registered profits during the 2011/12 season. The rise in profits was no doubt aided by the overall decrease in the wage/revenue ratio for players and coaches which went down almost 38 percent from the year before.
2011/12 was actually the eight consecutive season in which the league and all its associated companies generated revenues. According to the report, German clubs recorded revenues of nearly €2.5 billion last season, revenues that include increases in all aspects of operations. In 2009/10 only seven clubs recorded a profit after taxes so financial responsibility is growing rapidly throughout the league.
Christian Seiffert, the DFL’s chief executie, echoed the optimism of the report and praised the responsibility of the clubs and the league:
The Bundesliga confirmed its sustainable growth and healthy development. The league is well equipped for the coming challenges. The League Association, the DFL and the clubs will work intensively on continuing their successful way. The foundations for that are economic rationality as well as aimed investments in athletic performance and infrastructure.
Bundesliga continues to top Europe in attendance records
One of the league’s most attractive features are its highly attended matches an the great fan atmospheres in stadiums throughout the country. Last season was no different, in which Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs recorded even greater spectator figures. In comparison to Europe’s other top leagues, the Bundesliga extended its margins even more last year. The Bundesliga’s attendance records increased by 5.2 percent last season while they decreased in many of the other leagues.
2. Bundesliga is also thriving
The country’s second division is also continuing its impressive growth. Along with boasting new record attendances figures last season (some higher than the first division teams in Italy and France), the 2. Bundesliga is also boasting impressive numbers in revenue. The revenue has grown even more than the first division (7.2 percent from last year) with €384.5. The increased attendance figures naturally equated with higher revenue from match tickets (nearly a 45 percent increase from the season prior).
Financial sustainability bodes well for the future
As the DFL’s president, Dr. Reinhard Rauball mentioned, responsible financial behavior continues to underlie the foundation of the rapid development of German football as clubs continue to focus on sustaining growth. The Bundesliga is only behind the English Premier League in terms of profitability and as the report points out:
No other major football league in Europe has as balanced a revenue mix as the Bundesliga. The ratios of the three key pillars of revenue are closely grouped. In total, revenues from advertising (26.6 percent), from the sale of media rights for the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and international competitions (26.2 per cent), and matchday takings (ticket sales) of 21.2 per cent account for almost three quarters of the total return. The remainder was generated through transfers (10.1 per cent), merchandising (4.5 percent) and miscellaneous sources (11.4 percent).
Continued investment in youth development
Transfer valuations that keep the Bundesliga behind the Premier League are also improving though, and quite notably so. The total sum of transfers increased by almost 50 percent this past season from €106 to €210 million. Increasing transfer revenues will also strengthen Bundesliga clubs’ leverage in transfer negotiations and have a positive effect on team building. It will continue bolster the investment in youth development that has made the league so strong internationally.
Download the full report on the official Bundesliga site.