Germany’s Bundesliga is currently in discussions with private equity firms over a multibillion-dollar investment, according to a report in Financial Times.  Executives from Deutsche Fussball Liga, who run the Bundesliga, have opened these talks in an attempt to close the financial gap between the European leagues.

Reports are that executives from the DFL have been locked in discussions with at least five firms.  The DFL is the governing body of the Bundesliga in Germany.  Advent, Blackstone, Bridgepoint, CVC and KKR are among the buyout firms currently in talks with the league. They’re reportedly interested in gaining an equity in the Bundesliga‘s media rights, as well as commercial rights.

One of these firms, CVC, previously brokered a media rights deal with Spain’s LaLiga and France’s Ligue 1.  The Bundesliga also attempted a similar agreement at the time; however, the 36 clubs decided against the deal.  There are 18 teams in each of the DFL’s top two divisions.

Official comment about Bundesliga in talks with private equity firms

Aforementioned buyout firms declined to comment on the topic.  However, the Bundesliga did release a statement. 

“There are various considerations regarding the future of German professional football,” read the explanation.  “Among others, these include the option of a partnership that would provide growth capital and expertise for long-term strategic development.”

Bundesliga’s assertions to do the deal comes at a time in which the league is falling behind their competitors.  The Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, and Champions League have all increased their global interest.  Meanwhile Bundesliga appears to be stagnating financially.  In fact, the German league generates less than $265 million per season in international television rights.  Compare this to nearly $2 billion for the Premier League and $882 million for LaLiga.

Bundesliga faces a turning point in its trajectory

“Bundesliga is an inward-looking league,” claimed media analyst François Godard.  “They have not been looking for international opportunities in the way the Premier League and La Liga have done.  Their clubs have been less active at building a global fan base than Manchester United or Real Madrid.”

Creating a streaming platform for the league could also become an option for Bundesliga.  LaLiga recently launched a similar service in many Asian markets.  Growing the league could ultimately come down to how much money the Bundesliga is willing to spend.

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