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European Leagues


Success Against the Odds

A new footballing force has risen in Germany rapidly and rather unnoticed over the past few years. TSG Hoffenheim were competing as an amateur team back in the early 1990s, with the team in disarray on and off the playing field. Drastic measures were needed. Step foward local businessman Dietmar Hopp, one of the richest men in Germany. The club has been nurtured slowly and with the correct infrastucture put in place, TSG Hoffenheim are now deservedly punching above their weight, competing alongside the giants of Bayern Munich.

Blatter Hits Out At Foreign Ownership

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has called for stricter rules on foreign ownership of clubs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. On a visit to the European Parliament, the football supremo stated, 'Something has to be done about these billionaire owners. These days you can buy a club as easily as a football jersey. This is not just about England where the problem is acute. This will spread across Europe.' Blatter is, however, less clear about what the solution is to what he perceives as a problem.

Football Shirt Sponsors Are Harder To Find

The turmoil at Manchester United's sponsors, AIG, has focused attention on football shirt sponsors. Football shirt sponsorship has enjoyed steady growth in recent years. According to sports marketing consultant Sports Markt, total revenues last year were £287.8m in the six large European leagues, up 10.6 per cent on the previous year and doubling their value in eight years. But, as with most aspects of life in the Premier League, there is a gulf between the top clubs and everyone else, and the economic downturn is leaving other clubs struggling to find a sponsor.

Brazil is Leading Exporter of Foreign Players

The third annual review of the European Football Players' Labour Market published by the Professional Football Players Observatory shows that the percentage of foreign players with clubs in the top flight of each of the five main European leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) continues to increase. The number of Latin Americans among the foreign players rose by 2 per cent against players from other parts of the world. Non-European players now represent 50 per cent of the total number of foreign players.

Bundesliga Faces Television Rights Battle

The Bundesliga, the German government and pay-TV company Premiere are locked in a three-way batle over the Bundesliga's exclusive TV rights for the future. The country's Federal Cartel Office has ruled that highlights from the Bundesliga's Saturday matches have to be available on free TV soon after the end of the day's actions and said that the big-money deal between the Bundesliga and Premiere has to be renegotiated. The more highlights that are available on free television, the less money Premiere has to pay for a deal.

Why The 39th Game Is Still On

Premiership chief executive Richard Scudamore still thinks that a 39th game played abroad is essential to secure the future of the competition. He argues that the only reason that the model of distribution of half the domestic rights income and all the foreign rights income equally is that 'the revenues are so large, enabling us to divide the income without the top clubs crying foul.

Top 10 Money Earning Clubs in Champions League 2004-05

Liverpool headed the list of the Top 10 Money Earning Clubs in the 2004/05 running of the UEFA Champions League. They were the champions that year (winning for the 5th time when counting the European Cup as the tournaments predecessor) whilst runners-up AC Milan came third in the table, pushed down by Chelsea who earned more via broadcasting revenues.

Four English clubs were in the top ten table, two German and one each from Italy, Spain, France and Holland.

Top 20 Highest-Earning Players in World Football 2004

Source: France Football magazine. The figures presented are based on estimates of salary plus commercial earnings. In 2004, Frank Lampard was ranked the highest paid player by wages alone (at £5.17 million per season) although he only ranked sixth when commercial earnings were added. Marketing machine David Beckham headed the list with significant earnings from image rights and lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Adidas, Vodaphone, Brylcreem and Diesel.

Top 10 Football Matches by Number of Viewers - UK - 2004

Figures are for average number of viewers during course of match but does not include those watching in pubs and clubs.

Portugal versus England drew the highest audience in 2004, at over 20 million viewers. The most watched club football match was Chelsea v Arsenal in the Champions League Quarter Final which had an estimated 7.7 million viewers.