Bundesliga revenues break €4bn barrier for first time in record 2018-19 season
German soccer’s top-tier Bundesliga has posted record annual revenues of €4.02 billion ($4.35 billion) for the 2018-19 season, breaking the €4 billion mark for the first time.
The figure, unveiled today in the Bundesliga’s annual economic report, is up 5.4 per cent from the previous season’s number of €3.81 billion, and represents the 15th consecutive year of revenue growth for the league.
Indeed, the league’s total revenues have now doubled since the 2011-12 season, when a figure of just over €2 billion was recorded.
Media rights fees provided more than one-third of the league’s income (the biggest percentage from a specific sector), with the €1.48 billion generated through this sector last season accounting for 36.9 per cent of the Bundesliga’s total revenue. This is up from 32.7 per cent in 2017-18, which was the first season of the current four-year domestic television deal signed by the DFL with pay-TV’s Sky Deutschland Eurosport, which sub-licensed rights to DAZN, the international over-the-top platform, ahead of this season.
Media rights revenues were €1.25 billion last year, and are expected to exceed €1.5 billion for the first time when next year's report is published.
The second-largest sector in the DFL’s total 2018-19 revenue was advertising, which brought in €845.4 million, followed by transfer revenue (€675.1 million), and matchday revenue, primarily consisting of ticket sales, which brought in €520.1 million.
In total, the revenue generated by the Bundesliga and the second-tier 2. Bundesliga came to €4.8 billion, as the second tier secured its own record revenues of €782 million, up 28.5 per cent.
As revenue rose, so did expenditure, to €3.9 billion, up from €3.71 billion in 2017-18, which in itself was a significant leap from 2016-17’s figure of €3.22 billion.
Christian Seifert, the DFL’s chief executive, said: “In recent years, we have worked with our partners to develop German professional soccer into a highly successful economic sector. The Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga enjoy solid economic stability.
“Additional future growth prospects will result in particular from digital innovations and on the international front.”
With media rights fees again providing a large chunk of total revenue, the report is timely.
It comes a week after the DFL launched its tender for domestic media rights during the next cycle, which will cover the Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga, the Supercup and the relegation play-offs between 2021-22 and 2024-25. It expects to award the rights in May.
Sky presently holds live rights to the bulk of matches in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga each season in a four-year deal worth €3.5 billion that runs until the end of the 2020-21 campaign. Another 45 matches per season are shown by DAZN, which sub-licensed rights from Eurosport, which originally paid €340 million for rights to the games.
Sky and DAZN are expected, however, to face competition in the tender from the likes of Amazon, which will be a Champions League rights-holder in the next cycle, having marked its entry into the German market with Tuesday night games, and Deutsche Telekom, which is known to be looking to build up its portfolio for the MagentaTV streaming platform, with domestic Uefa Euro 2024 rights already secured.
It has been predicted by several industry experts that the total revenue generated from the upcoming domestic rights tender will exceed the figure secured in 2016 by 20 to 30 per cent, which would take it to around €5 billion.
While the revenue from domestic rights sales has increased in the last two seasons, international rights deals have also proved lucrative. The 2018-19 campaign was the first under a five-year, $250-million deal in China with PPTV, the Suning-owned streaming service, which came into effect last season.
The next international broadcast rights cycle for the Bundesliga, in all regions, is set to start in June next year, and the league is looking to quickly conclude a host of broadcast deals in areas including Asia and Latin America in the next few months.
In September last year, the league signed a six-year tie-up with ESPN, the US sports broadcaster, and followed that up with a four-year deal in the Nordics with NENT Group last week.
Elsewhere in the DFL’s annual report, the body said that a total of 18,885,620 tickets were sold for the 612 Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches in the 2018-19 season. The Bundesliga sold an average figure of 42,738 tickets per match, meaning it retained its status as the best-attended soccer league worldwide.
The report also revealed that 28 of the 36 clubs across the two leagues (14 out of 18 in the Bundesliga) made a net profit during the 2018-19 season, and that equity levels also reached new records; €1.8 billion for the Bundesliga and €174 million in the 2. Bundesliga.
Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) also increased to a new record figure of €868.5 million across the 18 clubs, working out at an average of €48.3 million per club. All but one Bundesliga side recorded positive Ebitda.