KEIR RADNEDGE COMMENTARY —- For all the proud boasts of the Spanish league about its financial acceleration, Germany’s Bundesliga remains brand leader among pursuers of the English Premier League atop the international cash ladder.
Earlier this month LaLiga boasted proudly that it had registered a record revenue level of more than €3bn, up 15pc on the previous year. That was not enough to catch the Germans. This is one sphere at least in which German football has an advantage never mind Real Madrid’s Champions League dismissal of Bayern Munich.
Where Spanish football does score is in terms of TV rights. These rose to €3.034bn for the top two divisions after the European Commission-enforced conversion to centralised selling of television rights.
Broadcasting revenues increased by €270.7m, a 30pc rise compared with the previous season, to €1.125bn. That exceeded the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 by €37m.
However, across the entire revenue picture the Bundesliga not only continues to lead the way but its single top division has shown a 56pc increase in revenue over the past five years compared with Spain’s 43pc.
Comparisons between each country’s top two divisions of the last five-year escalation differ little: German revenues are up 56pc compared with Spain’s 45pc.
Spain’s power in the TV rights sector owes almost everything to the superstar attractions represented by Real Madrid and Barcelona who will continue to effectively outgun Bayern Munich for years to come.
But their glamour is not enough to challenge German superiority in the spheres of direct commercial activity (sponsorships, etc). The Bundesliga’s 2015-16 tally here of €1.175bn is almost twice as much as Spain’s €662m and demonstrates the nature of the challenge confronting LaLiga’s sales team.
The Bundesliga more than doubled its top division lead over LaLiga from €203m to €438m in 2015-16 and, comparing the top two divisions, from €517m to €826m.
In the last annual German report Christian Seifert, ceo of the Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH, celebrated the “prevailing, unfettered momentum of the entire Bundesliga universe.”
He also possesses a momentum all his own. Seifert, appointed as ceo in 2005, agreed a contract extension last October for a further five years until the end of June 2022.
All western Europe’s leagues have sought to embrace, as far as culture and economic power allow, commercial acumen similar to that of the Premier League.
Not that England’s elite is always setting trends to follow. Only this past week the latest Deloitte report into the state of financial affairs noted that the Premier League had recorded a loss of £110m in the last financial year, 2015-16.
Deloitte attributed the sharp increase in expenditure largely to an increase in wage bills and expects a return to profit next year after the full effect of the new TV deal has kicked in.
At least, with revenues of €43bn, the Premier League has no need to worry about its No1 status. But there is plenty of European competition out there for however much commercial cash remains to be harvested.