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Oliver Kahn is worried about Bundesliga’s future and global appeal

Germany’s legendary goalkeeper and former Bayern Munich great Oliver Kahn is worried about Bundesliga’s future and global appeal. Goalkeeping great said that domestically Bundesliga can survive but their strategy in transfer market is not helping them to create the global appeal like Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1.

In Sport Bild new edition of UEFA Champions League special, Kahn told, “It will be difficult in the future for the Bundesliga clubs to get top players. Hardly any other club from the big European leagues is forced to hand over top performers for financial reasons. The German clubs are more than ever dependent on a first-class youth work. But that can’t be the only strategy in the long run.”

He was expecting Bundesliga top clubs to be fighting for top players to increase league viability. Former Bayern Munich’s shot-stopper wants Bayern Munich to break their barrier of not acquiring a player which costs them more than €45 million.

Kahn says that Bundesliga record champions have the capacity to go for top players who don’t come cheap. They can help the league create a global appeal just like Juventus in Serie A. Juventus take a great leap forward acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo’s services from Real Madrid for €110 million.

The 33-year-old Portuguese star may not be able to create the same magic on field which he has been creating over the last 10 years, but his off-field presence will definitely give a global appeal to Serie A and Juventus. He is the most followed athlete on social media, whether it’s facebook, twitter, or Instagram.

Kahn wanted Bayern Munich to go for Ronaldo. He said, “I would consider such a transfer to be very important for the Bundesliga. A player of his size would underline the attractiveness of the league. It shows that Bundesliga is interesting for such an exceptional player. In addition, a player like Ronaldo raises the level of all players in a team. Ronaldo would have been a milestone for the Bundesliga.”

It’s true that German Bundesliga is losing ground globally comparing to Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1. Premier League attractiveness is at another level compared to other top five leagues, but La Liga is catching them fast with their investment. Serie A is expected to bounce back with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus and resurgence of Milan teams once again. AS Roma helped them gain their lost global appeal after reaching UEFA Champions League semifinal last season. Napoli is only going to better under Carlo Ancelotti.

Ligue 1 has global appeal thanks to players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani playing for PSG.

It only proves that you need top talents to make your league attractive. Top players don’t want to come to Bundesliga. Premier League money interests them and La Liga’s football technicality helps them enhance their career. Serie A looks competitive again from global point of view.

What Bundesliga offer? They have almost the same Bayern Munich squad from last six seasons who have won consecutive Bundesliga title. They are not competing in Europe at top level. Bayern Munich last won UEFA Champions League in 2012/13 season, and another Bundesliga renowned club Borussia Dortmund’s status has only decreased since Jurgen Klopp left the club.

However, they have a very solid domestic backup. They lead spectators’ attendance chart. Grounds are almost full for every Bundesliga matches compared to La Liga or Serie A. But yes, you need global appeal for earning billions of money in broadcasting rights.

As per Deloitee annual reports, “The combined revenues for clubs in the top divisions in England, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany were €14.7 billion in the 2016/17 season. Premier League broadcasting rights was €3.2 billion, whereas La Liga reaches €1.5 billion milestone as well. Serie A broadcasting revenue recorded nearing €1.25 billion. Bundesliga slipped to fourth spot with their only €960 million broadcasts revenue. Ligue 1 was the only league behind them in top five with their €819 million broadcasting revenue.

Bundesliga need to change their marketing strategy to fill that gap. They need a change in their transfer plans, spending on players wages, conditioning of team members, and increase their viability in global market.

Current fan base doesn’t enjoy football, they appreciate the stars. They need global names to entertain them, football will follow. However, Kahn is not giving much preference to it for long-term future. He said, “Bundesliga is taking more conservative approach for good reasons. Nevertheless, the Bundesliga clubs in the current anti-commercial Gemengelage must not give up their vision and innovation readiness. I don’t think that football business will consolidate over the next decade. The global interest is too big for that.”


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