Earnings Record

Bumper Year for Bundesliga

Bundesleague player Zhang in Wolfburg Imago
Signing a Chinese player, like Zhang Xizhe for Wolfsburg, attracts millions of Chinese viewers. Source. Imago/ Christian Schroedter
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The British Premier League continues to be most popular in Asia, a largely still untapped market for soccer marketing – but the Bundesliga is catching up fast.

  • Facts


    • During the 2013-14 season, the Bundesliga’s 36 clubs took in €2.45 billion ($2.75 billion).
    • The league’s international media revenues are expected to hit €154 million ($173 million) next season.
    • Wolfsburg signed Chinese midfielder Zhang Xizhe in December and is estimated to have paid his former club Beijing Guoan €750,000 ($843,000).
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Economics professor Ekkehard Wenger once noted that investment banks were a lot like German soccer clubs: A great deal of money is taken in, but in the end it all goes to the players.

That’s no longer the case for the Bundesliga, Germany’s soccer league. For the last season, the quota for personnel costs at the 36 clubs in the first and second divisions was 36.8 percent – lower than ever before in this millennium. That compares to 65 percent for European leagues overall, according to the Union of European Football Associations.

Professional soccer players still belong to a privileged class in Germany. In the past season, a hefty €900 million was paid to players’ bank accounts – €53 million more than in the previous season.

And the clubs are doing even better.

“In the last 10 years, the German soccer league more than doubled its revenues,” said the Bundesliga chairman, Christian Seifert. “It is the second-largest league in Europe and will continue to grow vigorously in coming years.”

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