With the DFL’s outside investment plan now dead and buried, it seems that the Bundesliga in its current form may not be around for much longer. According to a report by Sport Bild, pressure from clubs like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Eintracht Frankfurt have led to the cancellation of an upcoming meeting of the DFL’s “Club Media” commission, which was set to take place next Thursday.
The meeting was supposed to take place between the media managers of 12 clubs from the Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga. The cancellation announcement was made by new DFL boss Steffen Merkel, who claimed it would’ve consisted of “a debate about additional club rights, but above all additional club support for the 2024 tender” in order to “upgrade the media product of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 for the upcoming rights cycle from 2025/26.”
Now, larger clubs in the Bundesliga, Bayern and Dortmund included, are exploring new options with regard to TV rights both nationally and internationally. Solidarity with lower level clubs, with smaller reach, may soon be a thing of the past.
Per Sport Bild, immediately after the DFL investor deal burst, BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke had angrily declared that he would not need “anyone to talk about solidarity” in the near future.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was similarly incensed, saying that by rejecting the DFL’s investor plan, the clubs had “abandoned the solidarity model of central marketing in German professional soccer.”
DFL Chairman Steffen Merkel acknowledges in his cancellation email that the league is divided. This could be the first sign that the upper echelons of the Bundesliga could break apart and form their own division, like the Premier League did back in England during the 1990’s. Are we seeing the end of the Bundesliga as we know it?