Bundesliga News

New Bundesliga revenue-sharing model gains momentum

By Peter Vice

The DFL's newly negotiated TV-rights package may prove the saving grace for cash-strapped professional German Bundesliga clubs. 

Roughly one year ahead of the implementation of the new deal, which will run from 2021 through 2025, an alliance of four organizations begins the initiative for a new distribution model. 

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The DFL concluded negotiations for the new Bundesliga television-rights package during the worldwide corona-lockdown last spring. In terms of domestic broadcast partners, SkyGermany and new streaming service DAZN came out the big winners.

Combined domestic rights bids will reportedly bring the DFL €4.4 billion over the course of four seasons. Additionally, foreign broadcast partners such as ESPN will chip in another €250 million.

The current arrangement already includes increased revenue sharing for clubs in the second division. Bundesliga Two will receive a record €9 million in TV subsidies after the 2021/22 season.

A recent proposal drafted by current Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05 and explicitly supported by fellow recently promoted first-tier teams Arminia Bielefeld and VfB Stuttgart seeks to raise that number as high as €50 million. Second-tier side Jahn Regensburg is also attached to the initiative.

Germany's "Bild am Sonntag" published details of the redistribution motion over the weekend. The band of clubs aims to cap TV revenue redistribution for the 18 top-flight Bundesliga clubs at 80 percent of income received. 

The current system reserves 100 percent of the income for the 18 Bundesliga clubs. The second Bundesliga receives a separate stipend from the DFL, which automatically increases by €1 million each year. 

"So far there have been two pots with different distribution models," Mainz commercial director Jan Lehmann recently told the Mainz Allgemeine Zeitung, "the gap is really widening."

Several German news sources report that several other clubs may be close to lending their support to the initiative. Even those who do not face relegation have long held a legitimate grievance that the Bundesliga revenue redistribution model unfairly suppresses competition.

Only 25 percent of TV revenues are evenly distributed, with the remaining three quarters reserved for clubs who meet performance initiatives like qualifying for the UEFA Champions or Europa League. 

The COVID-crisis may accelerate the appetite of more clubs for reform. German footballing magazine Kicker reports that ten first and second division clubs are considering lending their support. 

A new manner of pooling TV revenues that limits the top-flight-pool to 80 percent would constitute an enormous shift in the Bundesliga's financial dealings. 

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