Bayern Munich Outspent Borussia Dortmund 4-To-1 Over Past Four Seasons

Bayern Munich Outspent Borussia Dortmund 4-To-1 Over Past Four Seasons

Champions League Final: Bayern Munich Outspent Borussia Dortmund 4-To-1 Over Past Four Seasons

Agustino Fontevecchia | 5/24/2013 | Forbes

For the first time in UEFA Champions League history, two German squads will define the world’s premier club soccer competition. Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful team ever and an economic powerhouse, will face Borussia Dortmund, the rising star which has more than doubled its revenues in the past three years, winning two German league titles in the process. The economic comparison between the two is daunting, with Bayern outspending Dortmund four times over to recruit top talent, yet the underdog tasted glory in five of the past nine head-to-head matchups, making Saturday’s match much more than a clash of Teuton titans: it could be the dawn of a new age in the economic power distribution of global soccer.

When UEFA announced the Champions League’s semifinal matchups for the 2012/13 season, most of everyone expected to see an all Spanish final. Despite an incredible run, Dortmund wouldn’t be able to take Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, many thought, while FC Barcelona should be come on top against Bayern. Yet the team from Munich thumped the Catalans, beating them 7 – 0 on aggregate with superstar Lionel Messi sitting on the bench during the second leg, while Borussia Dortmund gave Mourinho’s Madrid a lesson in discipline and efficiency.

The Spanish teams, along with Manchester United, have dominated Forbes’ list of most valuable soccer teams for years. And in a sport where counting with top talent leads to on-pitch success, money is power. But the Germans are on the prowl.

“Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern are at a crossroads economically, but each at different levels. For Dortmund, it comes down to consolidating their rapid development in recent years to become established as a top European club,” explained Phillip Kupfer, senior consultant at sports marketing firm REPUCOM. “Bayern are already at that level and are now aiming to go one better, by joining FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid as one of the absolute elite club brands in global football,” Kupfer added.

The economic gulf between the two is huge: by our latest tally, Bayern was the fifth most valuable soccer time, worth $1.3 billion, while Dortmund came in at number 13, worth $459 million. But Dortmund is catching up, having more than doubled their revenues over the past three seasons to €215 million ($278 million) according to REPUCOM’s numbers, which are slightly higher than ours. After a fall in revenues two years ago, Bayern recovered and grew its sales to €373 million ($481 million). Barcelona and Madrid are both above $600 million mark.

Dortmund’s growth came from its sponsorship revenues. After having won two of the last three Bundesliga (German league) titles, the club now counts with more than 12 major marketing partnerships, taking its sponsorship revenues up from €39 to €58 million ($50 to $75 million) in three years; Bayern has remained steady around €83 million ($107 million).

On the flip side, Bayern continues to juice its global fan base, helping it take merchandising revenues up 48% to €57 million ($74 million) over the past three seasons. Dortmund, which has recently been having European success, has seen merchandising revenues remain relatively flat, hitting €15.5 million ($20 million) last season. While reaching the final will most probably boost this revenue channel, beating Bayern and taking their first Champions League trophy in more than 15 years would push them to the next level.

Where the major differences between Germany’s elite soccer clubs is most noticeable is in their transfer spend. Bayern’s deep pockets have allowed the club to spend more than €200 million ($258 million) over the past four seasons to sign global superstars. Indeed, beyond counting with the likes of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Mario Gomez, Bayern Munich has actually poached Dortmund’s superstar Mario Gotze, coughing up €37 million ($48 million) to make him the most expensive German footballer ever. Bayern also recently signed FC Barcelona’s former manager, Pep Guardiola, considered a visionary by many, beating out the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, both backed by foreign commodity dollars, who were vying for his services.

Borussia Dortmund’s much more limited budget forces the team to rely on its youth academy a lot more, and this in turn has had a positive economic impact. Dortmund has spent €55.5 million ($72 million) since the 2009/10 season, but has sold players for a cumulative €56 million ($72 million) in the same period, coming in practically even. Having received a meager €34.5 million ($44 million) Bayern’s transfer balance is deeply negative.

Bayern’s dominance through the years made it one of the only German teams to spark the interest of international fans. A study across 11 key European and Asian markets showed Bayern Munich counts with 17.8 million fans, compared to Dortmund’s 5.5 million (countries in the sample included the U.K., Italy, Spain, Japan, China, and India, among others). This is clearly backed by social media data, which shows Bayern with more than 7 million followers on Facebook and another 330,000 on Twitter, versus Dortmund’s 2.6 million and 300,000 respectively.

Yet Dortmund has the same rate of stadium occupancy, at more than 99.4% across Bundesliga and Champions League matches, and similar airtime on German TV. Borussia Dortmund’s average share of Sky Bundesliga live broadcasts reached 2%, above the 1.4% average for the league, but trailing Bayern’s 2.8%. A look at tweets referencing each team between August 2012 and May 2013 showed Dortmund was mentioned 5.5 million times while was referenced in 7.6 million tweets in that time period.

Every sports fan knows that statistics are just numbers, and that what really matters is what happens when referee blows the whistle and the game starts. On paper, Bayern Munichcommands an impressive financial lead, out-earning and vastly outspending its rival. Bayern also counts with more trophies, more experience in these instances, and more head-to-head victories. Dortmund, the underdog, has had the upper hand athletically over the past few years, growing dramatically and beginning to question Bayern’s hegemony. We have all the ingredients for an epic Champions League final. Now all we have to do is wait.

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