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SBD Global/January 15, 2013/International Football

German Bundesliga Transforms Into A Role Model For European Football Leagues

Duesseldorf's Ken Ilsoe celebrates during the Bundesliga match against Hannover 96 on Dec. 15.
While several European leagues are "continuing to lurch towards disaster, with shrinking attendances and growing ticket prices and debts, the German Bundesliga continues to provide the model for the future," according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The league "is reaping the benefits of a youth training system put into place after one of the country's most embarrassing moments -- when the national team failed to win a game at the 2000 European Championship." Germany, "once notorious for its efficient but dour style of play, now thrills crowds across the world with its brand of exciting, attacking play borne by its young stars." Few German clubs "seem willing to pay exorbitant transfer fees and stratospheric salaries now that they have a steady supply of talented home players that fans can easily identify with." The German Football League, which runs the Bundesliga, "has a licensing system that makes sure all clubs follow sound financial policies." Income "is distributed more or less fairly and there is no foreign ownership." German rules allow no single owner to hold more than 49% of a stake in a club, "with the rest in the hands of club members." The league "has secured an increase in income" of more than 50% for TV rights in a four-season deal starting next season. The deal will bring in about €628M ($840M) per year on average, compared with €412M ($551) per year at the moment. Last season's "average attendance jumped to about 45,000 and totaled 13.8 million" -- second only to the NFL in the U.S. Attendance "is high and tickets are cheap" -- some standing-room tickets cost around €15 ($20). The price of public transport "is included in the price." The clubs "limit the number of season tickets, so that other fans can also attend some matches." Karl-Heinz Koerbel, director of Frankfurt's football school, who played a record 602 Bundesliga games, said, "The successes in Europe reflect the state of the Bundesliga, which has become a lot more even. Now we have very good coaches, great players and an excellent youth program -- all this is attracting international attention" (DAILY RECORD, 1/14).
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