Bundesliga revenues rise again as media rights become driving force for growth
By Jonathan Rest
The 18 clubs of German soccer’s top-tier 1. Bundesliga and the joint stock companies of the DFL, Germany’s professional soccer league, reported revenue of over €2.17 billion ($2.96 billion) in 2012-13, a season in which its teams dominated the Uefa Champions League, Europe’s top clubs competition.
This was an increase of 4.4 per cent on the figure reported for the 2011-12 campaign, and was the ninth consecutive year of growth.
The DFL produced a post-tax profit of €62.6 million last season, up more than €7 million, with 12 of the 18 top-flight clubs returning a surplus.
Turnover for the 36 clubs from the top two Bundesliga divisions and the DFL’s joint stock companies reached €2.59 billion, up from €2.46 billion in the prior season.
The second-tier 2. Bundesliga’s revenue exceeded €400 million for the first time, coming in at €419.4 million, a 9-per-cent rise and a third successive season of growth.
Financial figures released today in the ‘Bundesliga Report 2014’ showed a growth in all central income-generating categories such as advertising/sponsorship, broadcast rights and match revenue.
But, for the first time, media rights became the leading revenue generator, exceeding advertising/sponsorship.
Meanwhile, the league paid €850 million in taxes and contributions in 2012-13, compared with €800 million in the previous season, the highest amount in the history of licensed soccer in Germany.
Christian Seifert, chief executive of the DFL, said: “The Bundesliga succeeds in the split between top level sports performance and economic rationality, especially compared to others in Europe. Thanks also to the further increases with the media contracts that take effect this season, the league is on the road to extending its position as the second strongest earning football league in Europe.”
Reinhard Rauball, president of the German League Association, said the 2012-13 season was one of the "most successful in the history of German professional football", as two teams reached the final of the Champions League for the first time, with Bayern Munich beating Borussia Dortmund at London's Wembley Stadium.
Of the 1. Bundesliga’s €2.17 billion in revenue last season, around €620 million came from media rights, up 13 per cent on the prior year.
DFL Sports Enterprises, the worldwide sales and distribution arm of the DFL, brought in €70 million per season for the Bundesliga’s international rights for the current three-year cycle (2012-13 to 2014-15), and has been set the target of reaching between €100 million and €150 million per season in the following three-year period.
A recent broadcast rights deal with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox spanning 80 territories in North and South America, Europe and Asia is thought to have left the league well on track to meet the upper target set by Seifert.
In next year’s report, the DFL expects the 1. Bundesliga’s revenue share from media rights to increase to over 30 per cent from new domestic broadcast deals that kicked in this season.
The new deals for the top-two Bundesliga divisions are worth an average of €628 million per season, with Sky Deutschland, the pay-television broadcaster, having secured a clean sweep of live multi-platform pay-television rights for four seasons, paying an average of €485.7 million per year, and ARD, the public-service broadcaster, paying the bulk of the remaining fees for its flagship highlights rights.
Overall, the value of the Bundesliga’s new domestic media rights deals represents an increase of 52 per cent on the average of €412 million per season generated from the present deal.
Sponsorship and advertising revenue contributed €579 million, or 27 per cent, of total revenues last season, up from €553.2 million in the 2011-12 campaign, while match-day takings contributed €469.3 million, up almost €30 million.
According to the report, 1. Bundesliga clubs spent 39 per cent of their revenue on salaries for players and coaching staff in 2012-13, compared with around 65 per cent on average among clubs in the top European leagues.
Despite record revenues, the 2. Bundelisga recorded a €16.8 million post-tax loss in 2012-13. However, that was a €2 million improvement on the previous season.
Advertising and sponsorship revenue (€115 million) was the biggest contributor to the 2.Bundesliga’s revenues last season, up 5 per cent, but media revenues dropped for the second season in succession, down 3 per cent to €104.46 million.Sportcal