German football hits records in 2022/23


German football clubs generate record turnover Image: Olympiastadion Berlin

German professional football has emerged from the Covid crisis in a record-breaking fashion, according to the German Football League (DFL).

In the 2022-23 season, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 exceeded the five-billion-euro mark in revenue for the first time ever. The total revenue of €5.24 billion is 9% higher than the previous record from the 2018-19 season (€4.8 billion).

The DFL said that 23 of the 36 clubs made a profit and the overall profit was €42.1 million.

Clubs also spent like never before in salaries for players and coaches, up 10.1% or €148.5 million.

The DFL added that 55,000 people held jobs connected with professional football in the period.

During the pandemic, this figure had fallen temporarily to roughly 26,000 (2020-21), due to Bundesliga matches being played without or in front of a limited number of fans in the stadiums, and further restrictions on professional football.

However, the number is now back to pre-Covid levels, highlighting the importance of professional football as an employer. In terms of club revenue, the Bundesliga reinforced its position in second place among the top European leagues, after the English Premier League.

Having already set a spectator record in the reporting period, the trend continues for the current 2023-24 season. In the first half of the season, some 10.28 million tickets were sold for German professional football – an all-time high.

A record figure of more than €1.6 billion in taxes and duties were also paid by the 36 clubs in the 2022-23 season. In total, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 have contributed more than €12.6 billion in taxes and duties over the past 10 years.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Speaker of the DFL Executive Committee and Chairman of the DFL Supervisory Board said, “Not only do the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 offer outstanding sport, unforgettable moments and excitement, they also are and will remain a successful industry. Professional football, like many other industries, is still struggling with the financial consequences of the pandemic-related loss of revenue – but the trend is clearly moving upwards and back into the profit zone.”

DFL CEO Marc Lenz added, “With a personnel cost ratio below 50% and larger investments in youth academies, German clubs are sustainable and much healthier financially than other top European leagues. Sporting success and attractive leagues must remain achievable with economic efficiency – as the future, healthy standard in Europe. Therefore, in addition to strong central marketing, effective financial and ownership rules in the international and national scope remain crucial for our German model.”

DFL CEO Steffen Merkel said, “A record amount of taxes and duties, 55,001 people employed and the highest ticket sales in history: the key figures for the 2022-23 season speak for themselves, not just in terms of revenue and once again document the social importance and responsibility of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. Despite times of crisis, German professional football has retained its popularity and appeal.”
At €4.45 billion, the Bundesliga generated record revenue in the 2022-23 season. The increase in revenue, in excess of 23% compared to the previous 2021-22 season (€3.61 billion), is due primarily to the following reasons according to the DFL:

  • For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, all 612 matches over the course of a Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 season were permitted again, without restrictions on the admission of fans to the stadiums related to COVID-19. Income from ticket sales in the Bundesliga has therefore almost doubled (to €536.5 million). Prices, however, remained moderate at €11.49 for a standing ticket and €31.58 for a seat.
  • Revenues from central marketing continue to make up the largest revenue items and have increased significantly by 10% to €1.52 billion. One reason for this is that the distribution of income from the exploitation of national media rights by the DFL to the clubs is subject to a sliding scale over the course of a rights period (currently 2021-22 to 2024-25) and increases from year to year.
  • The fact that the Bundesliga continues to be a very attractive industry for sponsors and partners is illustrated by the record figure of €1.12 billion in advertising revenue, which increased by 21% and thus exceeded the billion-euro mark for the first time.
  • Transfer revenue in the 2022-23 season was €617.1 million, which is 34% higher than in the previous season. The Bundesliga’s independence from this revenue item, which is naturally difficult to calculate, is illustrated by the fact that the “media revenue”, “advertising” and “match revenue” items together account for more than 70% of the Bundesliga’s total revenue.

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