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Finance

Most German football clubs operate at a profit

A new survey has shown two out of three professional German football clubs are on solid financial footing. Unlike their counterparts in other European leagues, Bundesliga managers see revenues outpacing expenses.

Nearly two-thirds of Germany's professional football clubs logged a profit in the 2013/14 season, according to a new study released Wednesday by auditors Ernst & Young (EY).

Those profits were even described as "high" by every third club, EY said, after gauging the opinions of 51 club managers from Germany's three professional Bundesliga divisions.

Out of 56 professional clubs, 18 clubs, or 32 percent, were in the red. In the previous season, only 28 percent of clubs had losses in the books.

"German professional football has become an attractive field from both a sports and a commercial perspective," said EY analyst Christine Unterhitzenberger, one of the study's authors.

Unterhitzenberger added that future revenues were set to outpace expenses. Two out of three clubs expect higher revenues in the upcoming season and beyond, while only 11 percent predict a decline in sales.

On average, club managers forecast sales will rise by 3.3 percent, compared to a 3 percent increase in outlays. Any additional income will primarily come from improved sales of broadcast rights and merchandise.

In the upcoming season, rights sales will earn Bundesliga clubs 710 million euros ($943 million), about 57 million euros more than last season.

While club managers are optimistic merchandizing will expand, they were more cautious when it came to income garnered from player transfers. Only one in four clubs said such transfers would boost their balance sheets.

Bundesliga clubs are also increasingly attractive for investors, although managers remain skeptical about external capital injections, the study concluded.

The EY data showed about 28 percent of clubs were in favor of funding from investors, while the same percentage of managers was fundamentally against it.

The rest made no statements on the issue. Managers "ambivalent stances" on capital investments were dependent on an individual club's financial situation and its "willingness to accept risks," the study said.

uhe/cjc (dpa, www.ey.com)

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