A top Bundesliga official has admitted that the German top flight essentially cannot complete financially with the Premier League. Hans-Joachim Watzke, CEO of Borussia Dortmund, made the comments during a recent interview with The Athletic. Watzke also serves as a key official of the German Football Association, a chairman with the Bundesliga, and a member of UEFA’s executive committee.

The German soccer exec covered a plethora of topics in the interview. However, a key part of the discussion surrounded Bundesliga’s attempts to grow as a league. It terms of financial power, the Premier League is undoubtedly the most dominate division in the world.

In fact, the English top flight just recently took the top spot as the most-watched soccer league here in the United States. Mexico’s Liga MX previously held firm on the number one position here Stateside. Bundesliga, on the other hand, finished sixth in the aforementioned list.

Selling piece of broadcasting deal helps Bundesliga close financial gap

German soccer officials are making at attempt to close the gap by selling a chunk of their television rights over a 20-year period. The move will generate around $1 billion, but has been met with fairly intense fan backlash.

Watzke, however, defended the decision by claiming that the move will help grow the German league. “Building streaming offerings and investing in international marketing will help make the Bundesliga more popular and accessible abroad,” Watzke proclaimed. “It helps us to compete financially with the Italians and the Spanish, who have the same problems as us.”

While Watzke says that selling a piece of the media pie will benefit the Bundesliga, he admits that it still won’t be able to come anywhere near the Premier League. “And it can help us to distribute the story of the unique German football,” continued the German exec.

“There’s one exceptional league: the Premier League. It exists on a whole different planet in terms of revenue streams, and has a very different historical background as well as the advantage of the English language. It’s a fantastic competition — even if that famous atmosphere in the grounds isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.”

Bundesliga would benefit if Bayern failed to win title

Another way for the Bundesliga to grow could be for another German team to finally end Bayern Munich’s domestic dominance. The Bavarian side has collected the league’s last 11 league titles. As a result, some soccer fans assume that Bayern’s annual fate in the league is essentially a foregone conclusion.

Watzke was asked about Dortmund’s title charge last season and if their success would have changed things for the league. The BVB entered the final day of the 2022/23 campaign only needing a win to collect their first Bundesliga title since 2012. However, the club eventually drew against Mainz and Bayern collected the championship by a narrow margin.

“Yes. that would have been the icing on the cake,” replied Watzke. “A lot of people all over the world paid attention to that title race, it really ramped up the Bundesliga’s visibility. I experienced it myself. I was at the Europa League and the Champions League finals and many people, from [UEFA president] Aleksander Ceferin to [PSG chairman] Nasser Al-Khelaifi, came up to me and said, ‘I watched it. It was really exciting.'”

Dortmund is struggling and well behind in the title race during the current campaign. Nevertheless, Bayer Leverkusen is currently atop the league table at the moment. German giants Bayern are now four points behind Xabi Alonso’s club, but do have an extra game in hand. German officials, admittedly outside of Munich, will be hoping that Leverkusen can keep up with the typically unstoppable Bayern for the remainder of the season.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Picture Point : IMAGO / Kirchner-Media.