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Volume 6 No. 247

Finance

German professional football is "booming" with record revenue of more than €4B ($5B) across two divisions last season, the 13th straight during which there has been an increase, according to the AP. The German Football League (DFL) said that revenue among the 36 teams in the top two tiers increased by 4.2% from the season before, with 14 of the 18 top-flight Bundesliga clubs generating revenue of more than €100M. The Bundesliga alone generated €3.37B, up from €3.24B in '15-16, while the second division set a record of €635.2M, up 4.4% on the season before. DFL CEO Christian Seifert said, "We are the league with the second highest turnover in the world. In sum, the league is totally healthy" (AP, 2/15). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's David Owen reported it is the second time the Bundesliga exceeded €3B ($3.75B). With a new domestic broadcast deal beginning with the current season, expectations are that this aggregate "will climb" to at least €3.6B ($4.5B) in '17-18. Total expenditure by Bundesliga clubs, which have "traditionally maintained a relatively low wage:turnover ratio," reached €3.23B ($4.04B) -- again including transfer spending -- yet 16 of the 18 top division teams turned a profit (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 2/15).

The prospect of legalized sports betting in the U.S. has "led at least one British online gambling company to splash out in anticipation," according to Paul Jarvis of BLOOMBERG. Smarkets Ltd., which already runs a betting exchange, is investing about $5M to create a "traditional sportsbook that will first be launched in its home market in coming months," CEO Jason Trost said. He added, “The main reason we’re building this is to go into the U.S.” He estimates the market there could be worth $10B-$20B "were it to be fully liberalized." The "closely held operator is one of many online gambling firms positioning themselves to jump into the U.S. should its ban on sports betting be lifted." Trost said that the company's aim has been to "take sports bets globally since he founded the business about a decade ago" (BLOOMBERG, 2/15).