FRANKFURT: Bundesliga boss Christian Seifert has maintained that the organisation will not act like a “megalomaniac” in a bid for further growth – and that selling a title sponsorship would not make sense.
The DFL celebrated its 50th birthday on Tuesday and is now widely acknowledged as standing behind only the English Premier League in terms of its financial position. The DFL in January released its 2013 Bundesliga Report with the 1.Bundesliga generating E2.08bn in revenue compared with last year’s E1.94bn.
The league produced a post-tax profit of Eur55 million with 14 of its 18 member clubs turning a profit.
Seifert, chief exective of the German league, told Die Welt the DFL should not be seeking for major change in a bid to make further progress.
He said: “We should not be a megalomaniac and should not be persuaded that suddenly everything has to be done differently and better. Bundesliga stadiums have a capacity of 91% and we have the second highest turnover of all football leagues in Europe.”
Questioned over whether the DFL is satisfied with second position, Seifert continued: “Put it this way – if I have to take drugs to get first place, then I prefer the second. Due to the influence of external donors the weight has moved in European competitions. Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris (Saint-Germain), Monaco… that is certainly not our way.
“The balance between economic sense, athletic performance and maintaining social acceptance – that is the challenge. But it would be the wrong approach to say now we are in a perfect position, because the other leagues do not sleep. And you need money in professional football to implement certain things.”
The 1.Bundesliga is Europe’s only major league without a title sponsor, but Seifert believes such a deal would have a negligible impact on its finances. “To pick a name for title sponsorship to me would be too much,” he said. “To change the name of the Bundesliga to generate E20m to E30m more, in view of the total revenue of E2.5bn does not make sense plain and simple.”
However, the DFL chief is seeking a significant increase in the value of the 1.Bundesliga’s foreign broadcast rights. The League currently generates Eur70 million a year from this revenue stream and Seifert believes this can realistically increase to E100m to E150m per year.
He added: “Our foreign rights are definitely one of the biggest growth areas. The worldwide press hype that has been created recently around German football and the alleged changing of the guard, shows how important the Champions League has become to the international perception of a successful football league. The current contracts run until 2015. We will conclude in the next 12 months, significant contracts for the period thereafter.”
** Reinhard Rauball has been re-elected as president of the DFL for a further three years after a unanimous vote on Wednesday.
The 36 1.Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga 2 clubs showed their unanimous support for the Borussia Dortmund president at the League’s annual general meeting. Rauball announced his intention to run for a third term as president of the DFL in April. The qualified lawyer has been at the head of the League Association since 2007 and was unanimously re-elected three years ago by the clubs of the 1.Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga.
Schalke 04’s Peter Peters and Mainz 05’s Harald Strutz will continue in their roles as vice-presidents after also receiving unanimous votes on Wednesday. The DFL board will be completed by Bayern Munchen’s Karl Hopfner, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Heribert Bruchhagen, SpVgg Greuther Fürth’s Helmut Hack and VfL Bochum’s Ansgar Schwenken, as well as the DFL chief executive Christian Seifert and chief operating officer Andreas Rettig.
The DFL supervisory board has also been elected for a further three years. Alongside president Rauball and vice-president Peters, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Stephan Schippers, SC Freiburg’s Heinrich Breit, Hertha Berlin’s Ingo Schiller and Energie Cottbus’ Ulrich Lepsch have been elected.