Unlike other nations, a top-flight national football league in Germany, known popularly as the Bundesliga, was quite late in developing; however, despite its late start, the Bundesliga has grown over the past decades and has become a formidable force to deal with.
It all started in 1962 when delegates from the regional football associations passed a motion by 103 votes to 26 to inaugurate a national league that would commence in the 1963-1964 season, in the Gold Room at the Westfallenhalle, Dortmund.
Today, the Bundesliga is a massively televised and attended league.
And although the appeal and popularity of the Bundesliga has reached record highs all over the world, it remains severely under-represented and grossly misrepresented here at Bleacher Report. Here are some reasons the Bundesliga is the best league in the world and why you should start following it.
The UEFA coefficient rankings are a set of rankings devised to rank and seed national leagues in European Competition. Recent rankings show how far the Bundesliga has progressed. It has left the traditionally strong Serie A in the dust, as highlighted by the coefficients for the top-four leagues presented in the table below:
One can also observe that the Bundesliga is not very far behind the La Liga and may overtake it soon, given the deficits of many of the Spanish clubs coupled with strikes related to wages and TV rights that Spain has experienced over the years.
Furthermore, Germany’s position as a strong economic powerhouse allows for the league to post record-breaking profits despite economic crises. Such cannot be said about Spain, which is struggling in the European Union, and such changes may be reflected directly in the football league.
A major driving feature of the Bundesliga is the production of home-grown players. A decade ago, the Bundesliga and the German FA made an agreement that to obtain a license to compete, one must found and run an education academy.
The results have been spectacular, as less money is spent on transfers and also provide a vast array of talent for the national team which has had successful runs in all the major European and World competitions; of the 23-man national squad announced for the World Cup in South Africa, 19 came from the Bundesliga academies, while the other four came from the Bundesliga-2 academies.
In these academies, at least 12 players that are admitted in each round have to be eligible to play for Germany, thereby providing a continuous replenishment of great, young football talent, and all clubs have a strong relationship to the German FA.
In contrast, in England, there is a great level of infighting between the FA, the Premier League and the Football League. Thus, the responsibility of producing home-grown players rests on the Premier League clubs.
Out of the two-billion euro in turnover for the Bundesliga, only 80 million euros are spent on the academies. In England, around 95 million euros are spent each year, and the results are appalling, as only one percent of boys who join the academy aged nine turn into professional footballers.
Although Bayern Munich remains the most successful Bundesliga outfit, other clubs are not far behind. It is true that FC Bayern are the heavyweights of German football, with 22 national titles, four Champions League trophies (a further four runner-up places), but the Bundesliga is riddled with other successful clubs.
German clubs are also historically strong in European competitions, the latest success being the appearance by German powerhouse Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final.
In the last ten years, six different clubs have won the title. Almost all the clubs that comprise the Bundesliga are strong, financially sound and provide intense competition amongst them, making each match an exhilarating and enthralling experience. For example: VfL Wolfsburg, who won the championship in the 2008-2009 season, came 15th in the 2010-2011 season.
In the last three years of the Bundesliga there have been three different cup winners and three different champions.
When is the last time that a German club won the Champions League?
For those who have forgotten, let me refresh your memory: the last German club to win the Champions League was FC Bayern Munich way back in 2001 when they defeated Valencia. It’s been 10 years now since a member of the Bundesliga has won the Champions League, yet the Bundesliga is considered Europe’s only fit and financially sound league.
Champions League is a source of massive revenues, and even though German clubs have not been doing as well as they did in the late 90s and early 00s, the Bundesliga operates on a collective profit.
Despite Bundesliga's television income being a modest 594 million euros compared with the Premier League's lucrative return of 1.94 billion euros, financial management is prudent. Match-day takings, advertising and media receipts keep the league in great financial shape.
This is in stark contrast to other major leagues which post massive deficits.
For example: Barcelona’s gross debt stands at around 483million and the net debt at 364 million, while they posted losses of 83 million in the 2009/2010 season and 21million in the 2010/2011 season. Bayern Munich, in contrast, has been operating on profits for the 19th season running.
In Germany, the fans show an enthusiasm that is unrivalled by any other league. Thirty-one million people in Germany take an active interest in the sport, and 14 million viewers watch the sport weekly. Bundesliga’s average attendance was 42,673 fans per game during the 2010–11 season, almost more than 14,000 La Liga fans per game. This record was beaten only by the NFL of the United States.
The Bundesliga also has the lowest ticket prices, and the clubs also limit the number of season ticket holders to ensure that every person has an equal opportunity for admission to a game.
The Bundesliga has €350m less per season than the Premier League in match-day revenues (but earns its fair share in sponsorship deals). For example: The biggest stand in the world, the Yellow Wall, in Borussia Dortmund, holds 26,000 supporters with the average cost of a ticket being only 15 euros.
In Bundesliga, there also exists a rule known as the 50+1 rule, meaning that members of the club must retain at least 51% of the ownership. There are exceptions to the rule, such as a company that has been supporting the club for more than 20 years may acquire the majority, however, it prevents situations that can allow for the change of hands immediately.
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