Skip to main content

Report: Bundesliga most profitable, Premier League most wealthy

By Tom McGowan and Piers Edwards, CNN
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1047 GMT (1847 HKT)
 
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Business group Deloitte says Bundesliga was most profitable European league in 2011-12
  • German division made $242 million profit despite generating less revenue than Premier League
  • Premier League tops revenue creation with $3.8 billion, ahead of Bundesliga with $2.36 billion

London (CNN) -- The German Bundesliga has set the standard on the football pitch in recent months, now the league's bank accounts are the envy of Europe after a report declared the competition to be the continent's most profitable.

The English Premier League continues to lead the way in terms of revenue, raking in $3.8 billion for the 2011-12 season, according to sports business group Deloitte.

But the German league bests its rivals with combined profits of $242 million, compared to $154 million for the Premier League.

The profit of clubs in the Bundesliga remained the same despite a drop in overall revenue to $2.36 billion for 2011-12 season, compared to $2.56 billion a year earlier.

Read: Bayern Munich crowned European champions

The Bundesliga's booming balance sheets reflect the division's recent on-field dominance.

Boris Becker: A champion's London tour
Wembley Stadium: Home of world football
CNN Football Club: Bayern dominate Barca
Do Bayern Munich need Pep Guardiola?
Pele: Mourinho is 'good for Chelsea'
Platini: Bundesliga raises the bar

Runners-up in 2012, Bayern Munich were crowned kings of Europe in May after beating Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German Champions League final.

"The reason the Bundesliga is more profitable than the Premier League really comes down to the regulations that German football authorities have in place," Paul Rawnsley, a director at Deloitte, told CNN.

"They have a much stronger central control over the ownership and financial models of clubs."

Rawnsley says there are two main aspects to rulings which enable German clubs to maximize their profits.

"Firstly, the regulations constrain the club's costs, and hence wage costs, as the clubs are limited in terms of how much they can spend in terms of wages-to-revenue ratio.

"Secondly, the regulations on club ownerships and the restrictions on external owners mean German clubs do not have the levels of extra contributions that we have seen in England.

"Over the last 5-6 years in England, there has been an extra $3 billion of money injected into clubs, which can be used to fund a higher level of wage costs."

So without the influence of incredibly wealthy figures such as Sheikh Mansour (Manchester City) and Roman Abramovich (Chelsea), Bundesliga clubs spend 51% of their total revenue on wages.

This is significantly lower than the 70% figure splashed out by English sides.

The Premier League's continued growth is also tempered by debt. The combined debt of the 20 teams in England's top flight is $3.8 billion, a figure that is identical to the league's total revenue.

However, Rawnsley believes the servicing of clubs' debts is not the issue it once was.

"A few years ago, debt was much more of a story but this year it has nudged downwards again," he explained. "Debt levels are going down and the costs of servicing the debt are going down as well.

"In round numbers, the cost to Premier League clubs servicing their debts is $125 million."

The reason for the relatively meager figure on debts of $3.8 billion is because $2.2 billion of that total has been provided by the financial backers of various clubs in the form of non-interest bearing "soft loans."

With new financial regulations from UEFA coming into play next season as well as an increased television deal that brings an extra $925 million to the Premier League, English clubs have the opportunity to increase profits next season.

While that may please their accountants, fans will -- as ever -- be far more concerned about boosting the footballing fortunes of their favorites in the year to come.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT