General view of a match ball during the warm up before the match that will be played behind closed while the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
(Reuters) - The revenue generated by Bundesliga clubs in the 2020-21 season shrank more than 8.5% to 3.47 billion euros ($3.84 billion) from 3.8 billion after COVID-19 led to most matches being played without fans, the German Football League (DFL) said on Friday.
In a report, it said a revenue shortfall was particularly apparent from ticket sales, which amounted to 22.4 million euros in 2020-21, compared to 520 million in the 2018-19 season prior to the pandemic.
In December 2020, the DFL had predicted a drop in turnover of about one billion euros during the 2020-21 season if fans had to stay away throughout the campaign.
"Over the past two years, the pandemic has already had a dramatic economic impact on the Bundesliga ... Sadly, it is also affecting the current season, primarily because once again the stands often had to remain empty," said Donata Hopfen, speaker of the DFL Executive Committee.
The report suggested that clubs had become less willing to make large investments in new players after transfer revenue also saw a further substantial downturn to 469 million euros, lower than the 533 million of the 2015-16 season.
"We are facing an unprecedented situation. The era of growth as something to be taken for granted seems to be over," Hopfen added. "Without a doubt, this will massively impact our development in the years to come.
"Nevertheless, considerable challenges always come with considerable opportunities. We must explore new avenues to make the German professional football future-proof while upholding our traditions and values."