OPINION | The new DFL investor deal fails to address the problem at hand

The dust is beginning to settle on the decision by the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga to allow investors into the league but although some ideas seem good on paper, they fail to address the real issue at hand. 

Provided by Sportschau, the DFL plans to invest €164m into a platform similar to that of the NBA league pass, €183m into supporting teams on international trips similar to the Premier League Summer Series, €126m on fighting illegal streaming and improving the transmission of the league and €65m on improved advertising of the league which could eventually include a title sponsor for the league. 

Some of the initial ideas are good such as an idea similar to the Summer Series as it will help teams reach their fans that are not located within a reasonable travel distance of Germany such as in the US as well as in Asia. 

On paper, the improved transmission of the league and its own digital platform are good ideas. However, some of the proposed ideas seem to be too over the top such as alternative camera angles on the team bus and in the dressing room. While a league-wide documentary may help bring new viewers into the league, these types of documentaries have been known to fabricate drama whether that be the dubious editing of Netflix’s Drive to Survive or the non-existent drama between cycling teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Wout Van Aert on Netflix’s Tour de France unchained. 

A platform similar to the NBA League Pass will provide additional opportunities for content creation but the main area of League Pass is that it broadcasts every game as well. This is something that is not really achievable in a country such as the UK due to the broadcasting blackout, while in the US most games are streamed anyway. The only way to make such a fee viable on top of the other subscription fees that fans pay is to make it different or eventually like the ‘Premflix’ idea that has been thrown around in recent years. 

However, all of this does not address the main problem that the Bundesliga suffers with and that is the one-sidedness of it all. Bayern have won 11 league titles in a row and apart from last season, no club has truly run them close during this period. 

The way the clubs not named Bayern are run is detrimental to the league, the constant need to sell their best players to make money means that they are always taking two steps forward and one step back. Take Dortmund for example. In the past three summers, they have sold Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham. If they had not backed themselves into a corner of becoming a selling club, there is a world out there where the three of them won the Bundesliga and are still at the club today. 

This input over money does not do a lot for the clubs when it comes to day-to-day running and due to how long it will take for the impact of this new plan to be felt will take a while. Even if all of this does result in more money from media rights for the clubs, there is inequality in the distribution.

Until this lack of balance in TV rights money distribution is addressed, the issue within the Bundesliga will persist. As Bayern continues to take the most money in from media rights it has become a situation that sees the rich getting richer, while the teams at the back end of the table struggle, this will continue to happen if the inequality is not addressed and Bayern will continue to be this goliath that is never challenged and the league loses it charm even more as it will not be able to replicate the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s in terms of competitiveness or drama. 

The pursuit of similar riches to the Premier League in this manner is likely to cause friction between the fans that make the league what it is and the clubs and the passing of this plan will likely open a wormhole that cannot be closed.

At the end of the day, better marketing will bring people to the league, but people will not stay for long if they keep seeing the same thing over and over again. 

GGFN | Jack Meenan 

Get Football+

More European Football News