Every club, every deal: your comprehensive Bundesliga commercial preview

14 August 2017 |
German soccer’s top-tier Bundesliga is widely renowned for its passionate fans and exemplary business models.

Over the past season, all of its clubs have been adding lucrative sponsors to their regional and global sponsorship portfolios. While the league has always produced strong sides on the pitch it is also - along with England’s Premier League and La Liga in Spain - well positioned as one of the financial powerhouses of international club soccer.

According to the German Football League’s (DFL) 2016/17 end of financial year report, the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs posted a record €3.24 billion (US$3.8 billion) in total revenue last year - which is up 23.7 per cent from the previous year’s €2.62 billion (US$3.1 billion) - with 13 teams surpassing the €100 million (US$118 million) revenue threshold.

16 of the 18 clubs earned an annualised profit and on the on the basis of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), all 18 clubs were in the black. Professional soccer contributes more than €1 billion in taxes and charges to the German government, with the Bundesliga clubs generating four times more profit after tax than in the prior year at €206.2 million (US$243.3 million).

The 2017/18 Bundesliga season will mark the first year that the DFL’s new four-year broadcast rights deal will come into to play. The agreement is worth €1.16 billion (US$1.36 billion) per season and will represent an 85 per cent income rise for Germany's top two soccer leagues. The DFL believes that the television rights deal will help the German clubs to close the gap on their vastly more affluent English rivals.

Meanwhile, as in the Premier League, the DFL has changed its regulations regarding the sale of sponsorship space on shirt sleeves. Whereas logistics firm Hermes previously took a spot on the sleeves of every Bundesliga club in a centralised deal, teams are now entitled to go to market individually to find partners for that inventory. Seven clubs had taken up that opportunity as the 2017/18 season dawned. Schalke 04’s deal with online grocer Allyouneedfresh, reportedly worth an annual US$5.5 million, is particularly notable, including as it does a stipulation that payment chips will be inserted into the sleeves of replica shirts so that fans can pay for items at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena.

While clubs are earning more money off the pitch, Bayern Munich have maintained their vice-like grip on the domestic league. The Bavarian giants won their fifth consecutive Bundesliga title and their 27th in total in 2016/17.

The Bundesliga champions received €100 million (US$118 million) in prize money while runners-up RB Leipzig earned just €29.6 million (US$34.9 million) because they only joined the top flight last year and most of the cash is distributed via a five-year ranking system.

Until a 3-0 loss to Bayern in December it was the controversial RB Leipzig that were the league’s runaway leaders, although their rapid success has not been positively received in Germany. Leipzig’s unpopularity among German soccer fans has arisen primarily from their ownership model. The Saxony outfit are solely owned by soft drink giant Red Bull, which has placed its corporate imprint on many aspects of the team’s identity. The set-up goes against the traditional ownership model in German soccer.

Since the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1963, the majority of the league’s members have adhered to a ‘50+1’ ownership model, which requires a group representing the club’s members and supporters to own at least 50 per cent plus one additional share of the football company, thereby holding a majority of voting rights whatever the breakdown of inward investment from elsewhere.

RB Leipzig are not the sole exception to this, although other outliers have tended to be clubs originally set up as works teams. 1899 Hoffenheim, who finished fourth in the 2016/17 Bundesliga table, are owned by German billionaire and founder of software giant SAP, Dietmar Hopp. Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, are owned by pharmaceutical company Bayer, and VfL Wolfsburg are run by automobile manufacturer Volkswagen.

Ahead of kick-off, SportsPro presents its definitive sponsorship guide for all of the Bundesliga teams in 2017/18.

FC Augsburg
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: WWK
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Lechwerke AG, Grünbeck,Segmüller, Sortimo International, Stadtwerke Augsburg, Roma, VR-Bank Handels, Kuka, Lotto Bayern, Audi
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Sortimo, VR-Bank, Müller

Hertha BSC
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: Bet-at-home
• Sleeve sponsor: TEDi
• Primary sponsors: AOK Nordost - Die Gesundheitskasse, Audi, Berliner Volksbank, Coca-Cola, DB, Orafol, Ryobi, 94,3 rs2, Warsteiner
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Orafol, Til Schweiger Foundation, Lieferando

Werder Bremen
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: Wiesenhof
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Haake Beck, EWE, Volkswagen, Die Sparkasse Bremen, Cewe-print, Lloyd, Zillertal, AOK
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Yingsheng, Heji18.com, Wiesenhof, Lieferando, Tipbet

Borussia Dortmund
• Kit supplier: Puma
• Main sponsor: Evonik
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsorsL Opel, Bwin, Eurowings, Brinkhoff's, Signal Iduna, Sparda-Bank, Unitymedia, Wilo, Hankook, Thorn, Sprehe
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Ofo, Gard, Würenbacher, Bwin, Til Schweiger Foundation, Atlas, Sport8, Konami

Eintracht Frankfurt
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: Krombacher Brauerei
• Sleeve sponsor: Deutsche Börse Group
• Primary sponsors: Indeed, DWS, Frankfurter Sparkasse, Fraport, Hessische Landesbank, Kaufmännische Krankenkasse, Lotto Hessen, Mainova, RMV
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Indeed, Helaba, Frankfurter Sparkasse, Federation of University Sport of China, Deutsche Börse, Til Schweiger Foundation, Nexen Tyres, Mainova, BG FC, Lieferando, BMW

SC Freiburg
• Kit supplier: Hummel
• Main sponsor: Schwarzwaldmilch
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Rafi, Rothaus, Europa Park, BGV, Lotto Baden-Württemberg
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: BGV, Til Schweiger Foundation, Rothaus, Lieferando, Benz24, Coca-Cola

Hamburger SV
• Kit supplier: Adidas
• Main sponsor: Emirates
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: HEK, NDR2, Tipico, Audi, QSC, Koenig Pilsner
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Wurst, Lieferando

Hannover 96
• Kit supplier: Jako
• Main sponsor: Heinz von Heiden
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: HDI, Volkswagen, NDR2, AOK, Continental, tipwin, Gilde
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Heinz von Heiden, Lieferando

1899 Hoffenheim
• Owner: Dietmar Hopp
• Kit supplier: Lotto
• Main sponsor: SAP
• Sleeve sponsor: ProWin
• Primary sponsors: Audi, Bitburger, Union Investment, AOK, Harder&Partner, Sparkasse-Heidelberg, Lidl, digibet
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: ProWin, Coca-Cola, Audi

1. FC Köln
• Kit supplier: Erima
• Main sponsor: REWE
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Rheinenergie, Rimowa, Gaffel, Ford, Deutsche Post, Betsafe, HDI Versicherungen
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Deutsche Post, Eisenbach Safes, Aral

RB Leipzig
• Owner: Red Bull
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: Red Bull
• Sleeve sponsor: CG Immobilien
• Primary sponsors: Hanwha Q Cells, Volkswagen, Tipico, Porsche, Rauch, Ur-Krostitzer, Mediamarkt
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Hanwha Q Cells, CG Immobilien, Zentralstadion

Bayer Leverkusen
• Owner: Bayer Pharmaceuticals
• Kit supplier: Jako
• Main sponsor: Barmenia Versicherungen
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Pronova BKK, tipwin, Bitburger, apotal.de, Avea, Coca-Cola, Ditcon, Hellweg, 918.com, Niedax Group, Maurice Lacroix
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Lieferando, Barmenia

Mainz 05
• Kit supplier: Lotto
• Main sponsor: Kömmerling
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Opel, Entega, Bitburger, Lotto Rheinland Pfalz
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Match IQ, Lieferando, Intersport, Benz24, Lotto Rheinland Pfalz

Borussia Mönchengladbach
• Kit supplier: Kappa
• Main sponsor: Postbank
• Sleeve sponsor: H-Hotels
• Primary sponsors: Santander, Böklunder, Bitburger, Mybet
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: H-Hotels, Mybet, Puma

Bayern Munich
• Kit supplier: Adidas
• Main sponsor: Deutsche Telekom
• Sleeve sponsor:  Hamad International Airport
• Primary sponsors: Audi, Allianz, DHL, Goodyear, Paulaner, SAP, Siemens, Tipico, Hamad International Airport, Lufthansa, Hypovereinsbank
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Hugo Boss, Siemens, Tipico, Global Premier Soccer, Til Schweiger Foundation, Tsinghua University, Apple Music, Vöhringer, Sino-German Ecopark Qingdao, Man, Omnigon,  Hamad International Airport

Schalke 04
• Kit supplier: Adidas
• Main sponsor: Gazprom
• Sleeve sponsor: AllyouneedFresh
• Primary sponsors: Bet-at-home, Böklunder, Coca-Cola, R + V Versicherung, Hisense, Tillman's, Veltins
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: K8.com, VfBesports, Umbro, AOK Nordwest, All You Need Fresh, Kumho

VfB Stuttgart
• Kit supplier: Puma
• Main sponsor: Mercedes-Benz Bank
• Sleeve sponsor: Gazi Ingo Schiller
• Primary sponsors: Krombacher, Würth, Karcher, Breuninger, Coca-Cola, EnBW, Ensinger, Fanuc, Fischer, Suedwestbank
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Kärcher, K8.com, VfBesports, Gazi Ingo Schiller, Würth, Til Schweiger Foundation, Lieferando, EnBW, Garmo, Media Markt

VfL Wolfsburg
• Owner: Volkswagen
• Kit supplier: Nike
• Main sponsor: Volkswagen
• Sleeve sponsor: N/A
• Primary sponsors: Linglong Tire, ATE, Faurecia, Lear, Petro Canada, Castrol, Adayo, Autostadt, Xiamenair, ZF, Gi Group
• Deals signed since start of 2016/17: Maurice Lacroix, Mentougou Education Committee, Wisdom Sports, Trilux, Roy Robson, Lieferando, Kitbag, XTiP

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