The Bundesliga is really getting some attention this week in the English-language press. Yesterday, as we mentioned, it was Patrick Barclay in London’s Daily Telegraph commenting on the German league’s financially sane model, with clubs less in debt and ticket prices affordable. Old news, but in these turbulent times in England, finally making some waves.
And now it’s the American media’s turn, as Soccer Insider talks to Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert, who attended the Super Bowl and came away impressed with the “product”: He told Steven Goff that “There is so much to learn from the Super Bowl and the NFL — it is one of the greatest life experiences around the globe. You see the surroundings, the camera concepts and TV technique, the way sponsors are involved, the event management.”
Meanwhile, somebody Jack Bell at the New York Times’ Goal blog thinks is also the “Bundesliga chief executive”, a Christian Pfennig — who apparently is actually the Bundesliga’s VP of Communications (unless Jack just has his Christians mixed up…or Steven does…) — speaks of the success of their model despite the challenge of the recession in 2009:
“We are proud and satisfied with our numbers in the first season of crisis. Who would have thought that record numbers are possible? We have combined relative financial health with good performance on the pitch. We believe it shows how good the Bundesliga business model is. Our three revenue streams — TV revenue, sponsorships and gate receipts — has more stability. In Italy, the clubs receive very little from match receipts, so you have to decide if you want sporting success while you ignore any financial circumstances. We are trying to do both in the Bundesliga.”
It’s well-known that the Bundesliga has a partnership with MLS, which has been less about high-profile friendlies and more about meetings off the field to share best business practices. That’s interesting, because at the heart of it their business structures are quite distinct, with German clubs at least half-owned by their fans (members) by Bundesliga regulation. This is what has largely protected German clubs (and fans) from the predatory short-term thinking that has bedeviled, oh, say English football in recent years. Periodically we see articles praising the Bundesliga like those above; will we see some substantive progress from other countries in following aspects of their model, or is the Super Bowl’s glitz just more likely to move in the opposite direction?
- The closure of David Beckham’s Academy in Los Angeles has treated him to some criticism from those who use it to question his supposed commitment to the growth of the sport in the United States. Which may or may not be valid (frankly, who cares), but the closure of his other academy in London and the sparse message on his website about it suggests that model of academy just doesn’t work well from a business standpoint, at least at the facilities the academies were using.
- A fantastic stadium demolition photo from 1958 on Footysphere, as Scunthorpe became the first club in England to build a cantilevered stand.
- Ruud Gullit has resurfaced as head of the Netherlands/Belgium’s joint bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup is reported to be in crisis, with government support still lacking.
The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.