On 18 December 2000 a vote was taken that was to mark a turning point in the history of German football. A general assembly of the 36 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs voted to make the Bundesliga an independent body, separating it from the German Football Association (DFB). Now it was free to act of its own accord.
Back in the 1980s, when the first proposals were made for an independent organization in German professional football, the landscape was far different than it is today. For example, in the 1985/86 campaign, the contract for television rights was only finalised once the season was already underway. The sale of the television rights amounted to the equivalent of approximately 5.11 million EURO for the season.
However, at the time the Bundesliga was already synonymous with sporting excellence, with the league’s clubs often achieving great success in European competition.
As the league’s finances increased in the late 1980s and early 1990s, thanks in part to the growth of commercial television channels, there was also greater public and media interest and a rising realisation that Germany’s professional clubs needed their own organisation.
One of the DFL’s core tasks remains television marketing. The rights deal finalised in June 2016 for the period 2017/18 to 2020/21 brought in a record 4.64 billion EURO, equating to 1.16 billion EURO per season. Compared to the previous rights period this represents a growth of 85 per cent, and an increase of 287 per cent since the 2005/06 season.