The Bundesliga is claimed as one of the top leagues in Europe, alongside the likes of the Premier League and La Liga. Yet we don’t hear about it as much as other leagues – in fact, we don’t see it anywhere near as much in the news, media or on our screening devices. The Bundesliga has been won by Bayern Munich for an incredible seven seasons in a row, with their striker Robert Lewandowski claiming the Golden Boot for the league four times. The german bundesliga odds favour Bayern to claim another title this season, but is it getting a bit repetitive? Is that why we don’t see it on the news as much, is it not deemed newsworthy?
The team last season in the Bundesliga with the largest average attendance was Borussia Dortmund with 80,820 people and the lowest was SC Freiburg with 23,894 people, quite a significant difference. However, if you compare this to the Premier League which sees a lot more interest across Europe – their lowest average attendance last season was with AFC Bournemouth who on average had 10,532 fans in attendance – meaning the Bundesliga averages more fans per game. It would be correct to deduce that the number of fans at each game doesn’t decide a leagues popularity either.
The Premier League has had four different title winners since Bayern’s reign, showing that just because Bayern are consistently at the top it isn’t effecting the popularity of the league. If it’s not about who wins, or about the number of fans, then what is it that determines the success of a league? Why does the Premier League attract global interest when the Bundesliga struggles to attract fans from outside Germany?
The Premier League and La Liga being are the most popular and profitable in Europe. In these leagues you’ll find the big household names that everyone loves to watch, Lionel Messi is one of the most popular footballers in the world, his name alone attracts a lot of attention from fans and the media. In the Bundesliga you won’t find many household known names. Having big names could have an impact on how popular the league is outside of its own country.
A big clue could lie in the number of nationalities within a league. When you take a look at the diversity of the leagues, the more diverse, the more popular. The Premier League has 74 nationalities playing in it that come from all over the world, whereas the Bundesliga has 63. Are the diverse nationalities having an impact on the Bundesliga ratings? Every nation has a star player they like to watch – take David Beckham for example, when he moved to LA Galaxy towards the end of his career, there was a rise in fans in the UK for the USA based club. By having a diverse league you attract more attention from across the globe.
Another possible factor is the money each club has. Money doesn’t just affect the quality of players you can buy from around the globe – it also affects the sponsorships, the advertising and the marketing of the club. You’ll notice the bigger clubs tend to get better TV deals – quite often we end up watching El Clásico on our TVs but there isn’t as much hype for the Bundesliga rivalries. Money speaks volumes in football, in more ways than one. It is possible that the Bundesliga struggles to market itself on the same scale as the Premier League due to the difference in funds.
Money, diversity, and quality – all three of these elements have huge impacts on the success of a league in its international standings. The Bundesliga has less funds, less quality and is not as diverse as its European competitors which is why perhaps, it doesn’t see the same global success.