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Bundesliga considering schedule changes to compete with Premier League

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Despite the public display of opposition to the television model used by the Premier League by supporters of FC Bayern Munich this past weekend (see below), it now appears that the German Bundesliga is contemplating a scheduling change to compete with England’s top flight.

According to a report published by ESPN FC, the Bundesliga are looking at ways they can maximize the value of the league and thus negotiate a lucrative new contract with television companies. The new comes following last week’s announcement that the brand new domestic television contract for the Premier League would cost in the region of $8billion for 2016-19.

One of the main criticisms of the modern day Sky Sports era of Premier League soccer is the perceived lack of consideration for supporters.

Often match times are moved to fit the televised schedule and you could see for example fans of Southampton, the league’s most southerly team travel to Newcastle, the league’s most northerly team, on a Monday evening for an 8pm GMT kick-off time with visiting supporters simply having no way of getting back home via public transport that evening.

In the Bundesliga, that is not a problem with supporters having been paramount in the league’s thinking for a number of years now. Currently, the Bundesliga has a fixture schedule that clubs and fans have become accustomed to. However, plans to stagger that schedule across weekends as well as potentially shortening the winter break are likely to meet vehement opposition.

bayern-fans-epl

The current Bundesliga deal is rumored to be around four times smaller than the deal just signed to broadcast the Premier League — with the shocking statistic that the last placed Premier League team is set to earn a higher amount of domestic television revenue than Bayern Munich, German’s behemoth club.

There’s still a lot of time for the German soccer authorities to change their strategy with the Bundesliga set to negotiate a new television deal next year, which will then come into force for the 2017-18 season.

Programming note: For viewers in the United States, you can watch Bundesliga matches live online with fuboTV PRO’s 14-day free trial. More details here.

Despite opposition from several clubs and fan groups already, it appears as though this is a train which is going to be very difficult to stop. The German Bundesliga will cite the examples of not only the Premier League but also La Liga and Serie A who have adopted more staggered fixture schedules to vastly increase the amount of money generated by television revenue.

Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert was quoted as saying, “We need an honest discussion in the league: Are we ready, looking at the new television contract, to take unpopular measures, if necessary, to be able to keep the best players in the world in the Bundesliga?”

This was then echoed by Borussia Monchengladbach Director of Sport Max Eberl. “Traditions may have to be broken,” he said, when asked about German soccer staying competitive financially.

Clubs and supporters in Germany share a very close bond with a number of teams having fan groups and members as part of the board. It is likely the changes will not be as vast as speculated at this moment. However it seems unlikely that there will not be some level of compromise.

You can’t stand in the way of progress especially with Europe’s other elite leagues all bringing in vast sums of money through television revenue. German soccer is currently enjoying a rise in success following the total remodel of the country’s soccer structure at the turn of the millennium. However, it is only a matter of time before they fall behind too far financially and have to lose their best players to the likes of Manchester, London, Madrid and so on.

Unfortunate so this is, it is unlikely to change unless the Bundesliga becomes a wealthier unit as a whole and that is why next year it is very likely there will be sizable change to the Bundesliga fixture schedule.

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. toby

    February 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    The Germans don’t get it. They think it is just about marketing why the Premier League is more popular around the world. So think moving kick off times will allow them to compete for international fans. The Premier League is the world’s most popular sports league for language,historical and cultural reasons, plus it is the most competitive of the elite European leagues. Those are four things German football can do nothing about, so why ruin their traditions for something they will never achieve. La Liga tried moving games for global audiences and the realised when a big English team played at the same time they had a lower share of the audience than they normally would get. So now the Real Madrid and Barcelona only play early kick off times when small English teams player each other. If La Liga struggled for global audience against the EPL, German football that is essentially a one team league doesn’t stand a chance.

    • Mysterious J

      February 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Don’t forget one other important difference: while the EPL produces Asian TV ratings, the Bundesliga produces World Cup winners.

  2. Daniel

    February 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I just noticed in the picture “this aint no premier league”.thats right youre not.because the premier league top to bottom is the best.not a 2-3 team league like spain or a 1 team league like germany.

    • Mysterious J

      February 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      An outsider club won the Bundesliga 6 years ago…this season will mark 20 years since an outsider club won the Prem.

    • Borussia DortMan

      February 20, 2015 at 11:30 am

      The six biggest clubs dominate the top 7 in England. The race this season has virtually been a two team race in England (Chelsea, City) which are separated by 7 points. While the bottom line 9 teams are separated by 10 points.

      In Germany the UCL race is wide open, while the race for the title is separated by 8 points. The bottom 12 are separate a mere 10 points.

      I wouldn’t say the Prem League is that more exciting, if at all.

  3. daniel

    February 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    you just cant get the best of both worlds.there is no reason why you you cant get a spain schedule(1 friday night,4 satuday all seperate,4 sunday all seperate,1 monday night) with all collective rights sold as one package(league,cup,supercup and possibly national team).england,spain,france italy,germany and any european league should have this to market to the world.

    • Mysterious J

      February 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Here is the thing: Germany is the biggest economy in Europe. I (and millions of others) think a Bundesliga that is designed and scheduled primarily for GERMANS is not a bad thing. Yes, there is more they can do…but if you start scheduling “lunchtime” kickoffs you are saying “screw you” to the traveling fans in favor of generating TV revenue in Asia. If you want the last major league that is not full of playthings for foreign billionaires to change its focus away from actual fans who show up to support their clubs, we can agree to disagree I guess.

  4. Mysterious J

    February 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    “However it seems unlikely that there will not be some level of compromise.”

    Why not be a better writer and change it to “However, it seems likely there will be some level of compromise”?

    Yes, the winter break could be shortened by a week. Yes, there is some staggering of kickoff times that could be done (although this will certainly lead to conflict with the 2.Bundesliga, something that never happens now) However, I sincerely hope that Bundesliga matches are not scheduled to please fans in Asia the way EPL matches are. As you correctly point out, supporter groups actually retain a tiny bit of power in Germany compared to elsewhere in the big European leagues…so hopefully they will be able to stomp this nonsense out.

    • mahluf

      February 19, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Which BPL matches are scheduled to please fans in Asia???

      • Christopher Harris

        February 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

        For starters, Saturday 7.45am ET kickoffs, which are shown live primetime during Saturday evenings in Asia.

      • Mysterious J

        February 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

        What Christopher said. If you can’t see the fact these matches are inconvenient or impossible for traveling fans to attend, I really can’t help you.

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