Bundesliga booming after successful World Cup

BERLIN - Germany's third place at the World Cup last year has boosted the popularity of the Bundesliga, according to league CEO Christian Seifert who predicts a two billion euro turnover this season.

Two days after presenting the German soccer league (DFL) 2009/10 report which saw clubs in the top two divisions post a record turnover of 2.083 billion euros for the sixth successive year, Seifert said he saw no slowdown.

"It is still early to say but the revenues from national and international contracts will increase in the current season. The turnover of the 36 clubs will be around the two billion euro mark again," Seifert told Reuters in an interview.

With other European leagues and clubs feeling the bite of the economic downturn, turnover in the Bundesliga in the past three years has risen by 21.5 percent.

Last season, however, the 36 clubs also made a loss of 103 million euros, the first time since 2003.

Seifert said it was down to the German teams becoming more competitive.

"You have to look at the UEFA five-year ranking period where Germany caught up with Italy," he said. "So there was an increased investment by the clubs during that period and that surfaces now in the figures."

The 18 Bundesliga clubs recorded turnover of more than 1.7 billion euros, more than all 36 clubs in the top two divisions combined in the 2006/7 season.

GROWING DEMAND

Seifert said the Bundesliga brand had been boosted by the national team's exciting run to the semi-finals in South Africa with high-scoring wins over England and Argentina before falling to eventual champions Spain.

"Demand for the Bundesliga was boosted by the World Cup last year. Most of Germany's players still play in the Bundesliga. The World Cup is a very good display window for the game," he said.

"Demand is high and the renewed deal with Eurosport beaming to 22 countries from 2012/13 onwards is a good one."

Seifert said he also expected international media revenues to rise sharply from 2012 onwards.

"Our new rights period in 2012 will see a significant double digit rise," he said.

He also backed UEFA's Financial Fair Play plan, introduced last year to force clubs to live within their means.

"We support this financial fair play guidelines not because they are along the lines of the Bundesliga but because that is the right way to go for football in Europe," Seifert said.

The aim of the new UEFA rules is to stop clubs spending recklessly to try to win titles - often with the help of rich owners who inject huge amounts of cash - in turn forcing rivals to overspend to keep up.

"It is a big industry and the way to the future should have balanced profit-loss statements and not produce huge losses."

The Bundesliga has its own strict licencing system that controls clubs' ownership, monitors it's finances and guarantees investment in youth work.