The Bundesliga saw more than a five percent dip in revenue during the 2019/20 campaign, the German Football League's (DFL) annual economic report has uncovered.
The latest figures released in the DFL's annual economic report show that the 18 clubs in German soccer's top flight generated total revenue of €3.8 billion (US$4.5 billion) last season, a drop of 5.4 percent compared to the €4.2 billion (US$5 billion) brought in during the 2018/19 campaign.
Both the top flight and second-tier were forced to suspend the season in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis and eventually restarted the campaign again in May, becoming one of the first leagues in Europe to do so.
As a consequence, the report stated that a 'downturn in revenue is primarily attributable to the lack of ticket sales due to matches being played without fans in the stadiums', with ticketing sales down 30 percent to €363.5 million.
On the other hand, media rights made up the largest share of clubs' income streams, accounting for 39.2% of the income for clubs in the Bundesliga top tier and representing a rise from the 2018/19 season, which made up just under 37%.
In addition, Bundesliga advertising and sponsorship turnovers – which include main sponsors and shirt sponsors – were also on the up, with the sum increasing from €845.4 million in 2018/29 to €888.8 million last season.
DFL Chief Executive, Christian Seifert, explained: "No one was prepared for the coronavirus crisis and the extent to which it would affect all areas of life worldwide, and German professional football is no exception.
"No one was prepared for the coronavirus crisis and the extent to which it would affect all areas of life worldwide, and German professional football is no exception," said DFL chief executive Christian Seifert.
"Over the past 20 years, the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga have established economic foundations on which the two leagues can build their future development. However, it is clear that the massive ramifications of the pandemic will require all clubs to continue to act with financial discipline and foresight."
The report ends 15 years of consecutive growth for the Bundesliga but it reaffirmed that the figure still goes down as the third-highest of all time and the 2. Bundesliga's second-highest sum of all time, having only once produced more revenue than in 2019/20.
However, the DFL emphasised that the financial results for the 2020/21 season are likely to suffer even more given that the majority of the campaign has been played with no fans in attendance. Speaking to media in December, Seifert predicted that this season would result in a revenue drop of about €1 billion (US$1.2 billion) if games remain behind closed doors.It was reported that in excess of 30 bidders could make a bid for a minority share in the Bundesliga International subsidiary, with Advent International and BC Partners said to be eyeing an offer by the Financial Times.