In Asia the Premier League is a market leader by a country mile, but will the Bundesliga follow suit?
The Bundesliga is the most exciting league in the world and yet the Premier League is the one everyone is talking about. Sure, I might be biased as a German but I like to have this argument at any time. Tweet me!
In 2014 the governing body of the German football league (DFL) has realised that there is actually a lot more potential for growth in the international market than trying to sell German football to Germans.
According to Jörg Daubitzer, CEO of DFL Sports Enterprises, the Premier League receives 800m Euro for international media rights, which shows the massive potential the international market holds. In comparison, the DFL makes just 140m Euros.
DFL want to tackle this topic and try to make the Bundesliga more popular outside of Germany. The key markets that have been identified are China, USA, Russia, Poland, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Japan.
Since 2014 the DFL has supported clubs financially for international trips that prove effective for advertising German football.
According to SPORT BILD, the clubs receive between 50-150k Euros depending on points that the club gained for the UEFA association’s club coefficients ranking and in which country they plan to play. E.g. for a journey in Europe 50-70k will be paid and for intercontinental travels up to 150k will be paid.
DFL Digital Sports is in charge of coming up with ideas to improve the international coverage of the Bundesliga. They have introduced the production of 5 live Bundesliga games with English commentary, every weekend (Fri-Sun). In addition there are two 1-hour highlight shows and a preview show called ‘Goal’ produced for over 170 countries.
To be more attractive to TV partners in different countries, DFL Digital Sports has decided to produce content specifically tailored to the markets need. E.g. SuperSport in Africa receives content on African players playing in the Bundesliga.
Recently the DFL has introduced a Task Force for the internationalisation of the Bundesliga and German football with the aim of raising the revenue of 75m Euros for the 2016/17 season to about 162m Euro.
It’s therefore no surprise that currently the international Marketing of the Bundesliga is a trend that the German clubs take part in, but what are they doing to make the Bundesliga more appealing internationally?
Bayern München is leading the way; they have opened an office in Manhattan and Philip Lahm has sent a video message in Chinese to celebrate the Chinese new year ahead of their Pre-season tour to Peking and Shanghai.
Borussia Dortmund is another team that will travel to Asia. They have tripled their sales in the Asian market in the last 3 years and have had a popular player from Japan called Shinji Kagawa.
In the 2015/16 season, thanks to a 5-year deal between the DFL and Fox, 90m households in the US are able to watch Bundesliga games live, also German teams have begun to play friendlies in the US.
Social media also plays an important role, especially YouTube. The 2 Bundesliga channels have more than 650k subscriptions and more than 170m views on their 1600 videos.
Also, the Bundesliga website is now available in English, Polish and Japanese.
Sure, the Bundesliga is playing catch-up in this aspect, but once they get it right, more money will flow, bigger names will play in the league and in terms of popularity, I’m sure the Bundesliga will be competing on par with the Premier League.
André is a German Account Manager at WePlay. He has previous experience working in brand and digital marketing for a Premier League Football club as well as major sports brands like Nike and Puma.