Added on March 26, 2020 Category News

German Football League (DFL) reports record sales – also thanks to the sports betting industry

record sales! For the 14th time in a row (!) The German Football League (DFL) was able to raise its total revenue to a new record. As the association announced in mid-February, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 broke the sound barrier of four billion euros for the first time. The betting industry is also involved in the dream balance – because it is more closely interwoven with German professional football than ever before. But there could soon be limits.

DFL business report – the numbers are correct

On February 13, the DFL was once again able to announce the good news: record sales, new billions of dollars – the latest economic report reads once again terrific. One number stands out above all: 4.42 billion euros. That was the cumulative turnover of the German professional leagues in the 2017/18 season.

The DFL was able to increase its revenues for the 14th time in a row – and also broke the four billion barrier for the first time in its history. Over the past ten years, German professional football has grown by an average of just under 9 percent. A brilliant growth trend, which is primarily due to the continuously increasing media revenues. To classify: For the national broadcasting rights alone, the DFL is collecting 1.16 billion euros per season in the current period!

DFL Managing Director Christian Seifert was pleased with the positive economic development, but also made it clear that DFL’s sales could not continue to increase indefinitely. A lot should depend on the two draft horses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The latest events in the German football league around patron Dietmar Hopp also show that every trend can end quickly.

The majority of the TV money – and also the total proceeds – comes together with the first division. They generated 3.81 billion euros in the 2017/18 season – almost twice as much as seven years ago (1.94). No wonder that the individual clubs can also adorn themselves with great numbers: 17 of 18 clubs achieved sales of over 100 million euros.

The equity of the premier league clubs rose to a maximum of 1.6 billion euros, not least thanks to continued strong direct revenues: With over 18 million tickets sold and an average of 43,879 spectators per game, the Bundesliga was the most popular football league in the world in 2017/18 .

And the second division? The “Reserve” also achieved a strong sales result of EUR 608 million, and the overall result is also positive at around EUR 27 million – unlike in the previous season.

The state also benefits – in three ways

The tax authorities should also enjoy the record numbers of the German Football League: With 1.28 billion euros, the 36 professional clubs have more taxes and social security contributions than ever before in the association’s history.

In addition, as the DFL itself writes, its increasing relevance as an employer: Over 55,000 people were employed by professional clubs or their subsidiaries in the 2017/18 season – this, too, is, of course, a record figure for society as a whole.

There is even a third reason for the state and law firm to be happy. Because parallel to the sales of the league, the sports betting market also grew – and with it the amount of the gaming taxes due.

Betting industry implements a multiple – but for how long?

More than 40 billion euros were bet on soccer games in Germany in 2017. Mind you: This sum refers only to licensed bookmakers.

More than half of the turnover is in the Bundesliga (23 billion), another 6.8 billion in the 2nd division. Compared to DFL sales, betting on professional games generates more than seven times the capital. It is mainly because of this discrepancy that skeptics have been warning about a possible increase in the risk of manipulation for years.

The question is, however, how long it will remain in this (economically) rosy situation. Because anyone who has followed the development of the industry knows that from 2021 the still unclear gambling law situation in Germany should be cleared up with a comprehensive State Treaty. According to the current status, this provides for significant restrictions in the sports betting area: Among other things, live betting is to be largely prohibited, the deposit limits per player are to be fixed at EUR 1,000 and the parallel use of betting accounts is to be prohibited.

If the contract actually comes into force according to this version, the German betting market could suffer considerable damage – and that would also be felt by the DFL. For example in the form of lower sponsorship proceeds or less interest, because the possibility of betting makes live sports more interesting for many people.

Future not foreseeable – for both DFL and betting industry

The bottom line is the strong record of the DFL remains a nice snapshot. However, it is not suitable for a reliable forecast of the future – although the top management claims the same. Because even if the trend has been rising steadily for 15 years now, German football faces uncertain times: The allocation of media rights, which has always been the financial driving force, is becoming increasingly complex – and unlike the Premier League or La Liga, it has Bundesliga still not open to large investors.

It is already evident that even the German industry leader from Munich is left behind when it comes to salaries and transfer fees for the absolute top stars. If three-digit million transfers are soon part of day-to-day business, this problem is likely to worsen – and if the Bundesliga can no longer hold its flagship, the attractiveness will decrease. And with her the sales.

The situation is similar in the betting industry: the situation is currently good, but given the uncertain legal situation from 2021, the fat years on German soil could soon be over. Sure, this may just be one of many scenarios at the moment – but it deserves attention, despite great balance sheets.

The most important figures on the DFL business report at a glance:

DFL generated sales of EUR 4.42 billion in the 2017/18 season
3.81 billion thereof from the Bundesliga
17 out of 18 first division clubs turned over 100 million euros
The equity of the Bundesliga clubs is at a record high of 1.6 billion euros
The revenue from national TV contracts has been EUR 1.16 billion per season since the 2017/18 season
The 18 first division clubs sold 18.7 million tickets
This results in an average of 43,879 spectators per game
The 36 professional clubs paid the German tax authorities a record sum of 1.28 billion euros in taxes and social security contributions