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Bundesliga thriving despite economy

Germany's Bundesliga, despite the global financial crisis began in September 2008, has the highest average attendance in the world, nearly 42,000 a game in modern stadiums; revenue that exceeded $2.7 billion (with player costs reduced to 40 percent of gross income); lowest average ticket prices, about $28 (in England the average is nearly $60); every game available live on television; and three different Bundesliga champions in the last three seasons (and three other clubs winning the German Cup over that period).

After the games of last weekend, the top five clubs in the standings in Germany are separated by 9 points, by 15 points in England and Italy, and by 19 points in Spain. German clubs in the top two divisions enjoy solid support at home, but Bundesliga clubs, which once were a force in European competitions, have not played in a Champions League final since 2002, when Bayer Leverkusen lost to Real Madrid.

But the Germans believe that their financial stability will lead to a resurgence in international play, citing their clubs' investment in youth programs -- the 36 clubs that comprise the top two divisions in Germany spent a combined $107 million on their academies in 2008-09.

Jack Bell spoke with the Bundesliga’s chief executive, Christian Seifer, who said that, "When people talk about the dominance of the Premier League and La Liga, they’re talking about four clubs in the U.K. and two in Spain. Do people really think that what happens in Spain, Italy and the U.K. is really the way to the future? No. It is completely unsustainable.”

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