Why only 18 teams in the Bundesliga?

Discussion in 'Germany' started by RMCFkevin, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. RMCFkevin

    RMCFkevin Member+

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    The EPL, Ligue 1, La liga, Series A and even the 2. Bundesliga all have 20 teams. Why does Germany's top flight not follow suit? It would only benefit the league (more revenue, more matches for fans to go to, etc)


  2. The Friendly Ghost

    The Friendly Ghost Member

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    My opinion:

    Tradition. IIRC, the BL began with 16 teams but within a year or two was at 18,and has been there since. Moreover, to go with 20 teams, you'd almost certainly have to either do away with the winter break or add many more weekday fixtures, which goes against the tradition of playing on weekends and not at all in January.

    Personally, I don't necessarily think bigger is better. In fact, I think 16 teams would be preferable to 18 teams (but I don't see that happening because of Tradition).

    If the BL would go to 20, it would most likely mean more revenue, but perhaps not as much as one might think (I suppose one could make the argument that by diminishing the importance of the games by adding more, you'll end up breaking even on fan attendance, but I certainly would think TV and ad revenue would increase). Adding more games decreases the appeal of the existing games (that mid-February game becomes incrementally less important in a 38 game schedule than a 34 game schedule). Might it also decrease the quality? While we assume more revenue, would it be enough to support two additional teams that would not lower the overall level of league play? I'd argue no, that the rich would get richer and the teams at the bottom of the table would not realize any benefit, with the effect being that the quality of play within the league will decrease because of more weak teams at the bottom. Other top Euro leagues bring in much more revenue, so perhaps they are better able to absorb two more weak sisters than would the BL. Moreover, can one argue that the success of the German National Team can, at least in small part, be attributed to the fact that its members, most of whom ply their trade in Germany, are less tired than their peers in the other leagues?

    P.S. The 2.BL only has 18 teams. Perhaps you meant the 3.BL, which in fact has 20.
  3. Borussia

    Borussia Member

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    Are you really sure?

    Why only 18 teams in BL? Because German clubs don't need more revenue!!! :p
  4. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    They don't want to split the TV money by more teams. It's as easy as that (and no, the increase in TV revenue with more teams would only be minimal at best, so no chance to increase income as well this way).


  5. Thomas T.

    Thomas T. Member

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    16 teams would be ideal because it would narrow down the number of teams who have nothing to gain and nothing to lose toward the end of the season, which turns their games into dull affairs.

    Let's have a look at the PL table, for instance: There are still 8 games to play, but from WBA to Sunderland there are 7 teams for whom the season is virtually over. They can't get into a EL spot and they can't get relegated. So it doesn't matter much if they win or lose their games.
  6. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    There are currently 0 teams in the Bundesliga who have nothing to gain or lose. In 2011 at the same time there were also 0 clubs who had nothing to gain or lose. Not to mention that most fans would probably prefer dull Bundesliga games to exciting 2. Bundesliga games as far as their club is concerned.
  7. Lupin III

    Lupin III Member

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    If you are talking about that logic it makes much more sense to make no promotion/relegation.

    Saying only 16 teams in a league might make the league more exiting but it also pisses on all the fans of other clubs than those 16.

    Afterall Promotion/relegation system exists because theres potentially thousands of clubs with fans.

    May I remind that this is not an US major sport league, with franchises relaocating if not enough fans. These are all genuine clubs wether its in BL or Landesliga were you can come from the street and become member of the club and play for the club (mostly on team 27 though).

    May I also remind you how many people you will make jobless, players, managers, coaches, staff if only 16 clubs in BL just because some people are talking about exitement in the league.

    dont misunderstand me, but the system is made for people that want to have a local club to support and go and follow the club, not for more exitement in the league.
  8. Thomas T.

    Thomas T. Member

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    Lupin III

    I don't agree with your priorities.
    Getting more people into a job and having as many towns as possible represented in the highest league of a country may have some importance, but this is not what football is about.
  9. Lupin III

    Lupin III Member

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    If I were supporting a club that were not one of the 16 clubs I would be very disappointed. Seriously football is about the fans enjoying from day to day, not about overall excitement in the league afterall pro football started with friendly matches only.

    But you are offcourse entitled to your own oppinion, but to think you can cut a country up in 16 chunks (in this case Germany) thats a spill, even the americans would try to have 30 teams even they could have maybe 200-300 teams instead.
  10. Kampfschwein

    Kampfschwein Member

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    Personally, I find an league with 18 clubs more exciting. Those other leagues have too many clubs having nothing to play for towards the end of the season. The Bundesliga is arguably the most exciting league among the BigFive. Tons of goals, biggest crowds, 18 clubs having something to fight for... It's working just fine.

    It is also worth mentioning that FIFA recommends leagues to have no more than 18 teams. Why? Too many matches => player fatigue => injuries.

    As for financial concerns, it'd mean splitting the TV revenue among more clubs. In all likelihood, that'd see 2nd Bundesliga clubs lose out in terms of how the revenue is split by the DFL between the two leagues. Not desirable.

    Sometimes, less is more.
  11. CCinGermany

    CCinGermany Member

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    Wrong about 2.Bundesliga. 18 teams is ideal, people enjoy the winter break and being able to travel with their club...something extremely difficult to do on a weeknight.
  12. Thomas T.

    Thomas T. Member

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    You seem to forget that there is not just one league. In Germany, every town has at least one professional football club, and even many villages have one. They don't play in the Bundesliga, of course, but in the 2. Bundesliga, or in the 3. Bundesliga, or the Regionalliga etc

    Who says that fans can only enjoy football if their team plays in the highest league of a country? That's only true for so-called "bandwagon fans", or the "prawn sandwich brigade". But they aren't real fans anyway.
  13. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    No, they don't. There are maybe about 60 professional clubs in Germany, possibly less.

    Which is somewhat of a rich comment of someone who is all for destroying the game in the lower divisions (even if you don't actually realize it).

    Lower division football in Germany is dying right now. The Bundesliga is monopolizing public and sponsor interest. Lower division clubs are dying off slowly. Your 16-team-league idea would only speed up the process of course, in the end it might not matter if it's 10 or 15 years before the whole thing collapses.
  14. Thomas T.

    Thomas T. Member

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    Ok, I may have exaggerated a little. But even semi-professional or amateur clubs play (lower league) football that can be enjoyed by the local population. What I meant to say is that every town has at least one such team that the locals can root for.

    That makes no sense to me. On the contrary: the lower divisions would have more high profile clubs in them that now play in a higher division. If clubs like Hertha, Kaiserslautern, Hamburg are relegated, then the 2. Bundesliga becomes much more attractive. Fans don't abandon their team just because they play in a lower league. Hertha drew 46.000 visitors on average in the 2. Bundesliga last year.

    That's not true. The 2. Bundesliga, for instance, has never been more popular than now and the average attendance has increased dramatically in recent years.
  15. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    Of course the local popultion doesn't actually go to the games anymore. Lüneburg or Celle are towns with a population of 70k each, to use a local example. Ten years ago their clubs still got attendances in the low to mid 4-digits. Today it's 100-300. And the people going to the games are almost exclusively old timers, as there are no new fans. Kids grew up with the Bundesliga on TV.

    You actually think the 2. Bundesliga qualifies as "lower divisions" already? 2. Bundesliga attendance heavily depends on what clubs play there, obviously, and there are 30-40 pro clubs in Germany who have pretty much monopolized the game.

    So far this season 6 Oberliga clubs have gone bankrupt. During the last 4 years alone in the 3rd to 5th division there have been, by my count, at least 32 clubs who went into insolvency or were denied a license.
  16. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    Btw, this should be the list since 2008 (3. Liga, RL, OL):

    2008 - Gladbeck, no license
    2008 - Erkenschwick, insolvency
    2008 - Yesilyurt Berlin, insolvency - club folded
    2008 - Bayreuth, no license
    2009 - Sachsen Leipzig, insolvency
    2009 - Altona 93, no license
    2009 - Kickers Emden, no 3. Liga or RL license
    2009 - Oggersheim, no license
    2009 - Aschaffenburg, no license
    2009 - Großbardorf, no license
    2009 - Bentwisch, voluntarily relegated
    2010 - TeBe Berlin, insolvency
    2010 - Rostock II, voluntarily relegated
    2010 - RW Essen, no license
    2010 - Bonn, insolvency
    2010 - Waldhof Mannheim, no license
    2010 - Reutlingen, insolvency
    2010 - Bamberg, insolvency - club folded
    2010 - Germania Leer, inolvency
    2010 - Aschaffenburg, insolvency
    2011 - TuS Koblenz, no license
    2011 - Sachsen Leipzig, insolvency - club folded
    2011 - RW Ahlen, no 3. Liga or RL license
    2011 - SSV Ulm, insolvency
    2011 - SpVgg Weiden, insolvency - club folded
    2011 - Windeck, voluntarily relegated
    2011 - Wegberg-Beeck, no license
    2011 - Erkenschwick, no license
    2011 - 1. FC Kleve, insolvency
    2012 - Türkiyemspor, insolvency
    2012 - Gera 03, insolvency
    2012 - Borea Dresden, voluntarily relegated midseason for financial reasons
    2012 - VfL Kircheim, voluntarily relegated midseason for financial reasons
    2012 - Einntracht Nordhorn, insolvency
    2012 - Kickers Emden, insolvency
  17. Kampfschwein

    Kampfschwein Member

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    Alex, what do you propose in order to remedy the poor situation in the lower divisions (RL and lower)?
  18. Thomas T.

    Thomas T. Member

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    That's sad.
    But increasing the number of teams in the 1. and 2. Bundesliga does nothing to improve that situation.
    When clubs with a great tradition and a large fanbase like Dresden are in the 3rd or 4th tier league (as they were for many years), then this increases interest in this league. So, as I said, less clubs would be of help to the lower leagues.

    The reason why so few young people attend lower league football matches is not the Bundesliga but changes in society and culture. People have so much choices how to spend their free time, there are fewer young people, communities have less money to support clubs, and people have become lazy and reclusive.

    You complain that the Bundesliga monopolizes all the attention and interest, but the only way to change that would be to make the Bundesliga less attractive. Is that what you want to achieve by the proposal to increase the number of teams?
    But making the Bundesliga less attractive will not make people attend lower league matches. It will make them turn away from football altogether. If the Bundesliga is exciting, people are drawn to football and some of them will look for a club in their neighborhood to support.
  19. Lupin III

    Lupin III Member

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    Thomas part of whats saying is definately true, world has become smaller, however just because the world has become smaller no need to hurry up and kill local clubs only because 16 league championship is more exciting.

    I am aware that BL will never have 20 clubs the interest from the existing teams are simply not there to accept. Personally the 3. League was in the right direction.

    As long as the leagues are organised decentralized egoism among the big gold clubs will also be present. Howmuch i despise american franchise sports league, they have a strong organisation with clear ideas and visions were the league is dictating the progression not likes of Bayern München.

    Take on example is the Japanese J-League. 20 years ago the league was created as a franchise league, in these 20 years it has grown from 10-40 pro clubs by adding 1-2 teams a year. They have a clear vision calling the 100 year vision stating that every town has its right in having a proclub, each time some clubs has tried to resist and go ego the league has hitted hard on the owner organisations. I think thats an example to follow.
  20. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    Young people seem to attend Bundesliga games just fine. By my personal experience even moreso than in the 1990s. But people in Oldenburg, Hildesheim, Celle or Lüneburg now think of Bremen, Hannover or HSV as their "local" clubs. Due to modern transportation you are quickly there, you see them on TV all the time, even the local paper (ok, kids don't read those often) will have pages over pages on the nearest Bundesliga club (hell, even in Braunschweig the paper seems more concerned with Wolfsburg than with Eintracht :rolleyes:), and if your lucky you get a tiny boxscore from the local Oberliga club (just buy a paper in Hildesheim and check yourself - and VfV Hildesheim, the local club, used to have 5-digit attendances way back...).

    And let's be real - a kid who watches Messi clips on youtube, and goes to see Bayern, HSV, whatever, once a month will never ever check out their local club. Nobody they know goes there, and it's a completely different experience.

    Dresden in the 4th diviion would only do Dresden way more harm (hello next insolvency) than it would help increasing interest in the league. Even the 3. Liga survives entirely on subsidies already (the ARD doesn't actually want to show the games, at least not enough to pay for it what they do now - however, the DFB requires it if you want to get the rights to NT games).

    The issue is way more complex and lower division football has been systematically destroyed (maybe not entirely on purpose - but the DFB has completely lost it when it comes to the grassroots level, they don't really give a ******** anymore).

    I was more stating the facts. The vast majority of people on this board doesn't follow lower division soccer at all, so I think pointing out misconceptions is fair game.

    I can't remember making such a proposal (I'd increase the 2. Bundesliga to 20 clubs, though - but I'm sure I never actually mentioned this).

    Of course so far everything we have seen suggests the exact opposite.
  21. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    I'm not sure if you can do anything anymore. Scrap the 3. Liga, get 6 semi-pro Regionalligas as the new third division. This would make semi-pro games meaningful again at least (one of the worst part of lower division football these days is how utterly meaningless it is, since most clubs can't hope to actually progress to a higher level anymore).

    Alternatively: create a closed professional pyramid, say Bundesliga, 20 teams 2. Bundesliga, 20-24 teams 3. Liga (no reserves - alternatively, have a 3. Liga North and a 3. Liga South), no pro/rel between 3. Liga and semi-pro leagues. Semi-pro leagues: have them play for the German amateur championship again, with national play-offs and stuff. This will make the huge gap between pro and amateur game permanent, but at least the amateur game could become stable again, since it wouldn't have to operate in the current league system anymore.
  22. Kampfschwein

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    Well, the 3rd division was introduced to lessen the gap between the 2nd Bundesliga and the lower divisions.

    Why scrap it?

    As for the 4th echelon, the DFB is already going for the smaller and more numerous Regionalligas. That at least will lower costs. And more derbies will increase interest.

    Now, if only they were to exclude reserve teams... I just don't see how the Regionalligas can really have their own strong identity with so many reserve teams weakening their "brand".
  23. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    The league originally looked like a success, but season you can see quite clearly that the league isn't self supporting. As I said, it survives entirely on subsidies anyway. Attendances are lower than in the old 3rd division Regionalliga (which at the beginning was masked by clubs like Düsseldorf, Braunschweig, Dresden - as soon as those were promoted the league became quite bleak), and at least one third of the clubs are in danger of not getting a license each year.

    The by FAR biggest issue about the new RL reform are the reduced license requirements. It's still impossible for many OL clubs to fullfill those, but at least we won't have the situation again that multiple OL champions refuse promotion.

    No reserve teams is unlikely to happen - that's what the DFB gets for giving the Bundesliga a veto right on all decisions (they don't have one de jure - but the Bundesliga has so many votes in the DFB assembly that, if they vote no, it's impossible to get a supermajority, which would be needed for decisions like this).
  24. Lupin III

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    Lets not forget that the lowest pro league will always fight against bad economy no matter where in the world, thats a natural law so clubs in 3.liga in diffilcuties is acceptable.

    I also still think that 3.Liga is a much bigger succes than you state Alex.

    You said attenance were masked by dresden, braunschweig and Düsseldorf.
    I prefer to see it in another way. Without 3. liga none of the 3 clubs would have gottem up to 2.BL

    It also serves as a cushing before clubs disapearing into oblivity. 3. liga has saved a clubs like Bielefeldd and Rostock, and when Karlsruhe or Aachen goes own this season they wont be hit as hard as if they were relegated down to the regionals.

    What offcourse is a big miscalculation was that much fewer of the old traitionsvereins in the old Regional liga went up to 3.liga. Theres clubs like Osnabruck and Offenbach, but no doubt that clubs like Mannhein, Essen, Ulm, Magdeburg etc.... were expected to be there. However I also thinks its a matter of time before we see those clubs up there, we alreay saw Münster, Chemnitz and Darmstadt going up last season.

    I think the creators of 3. liga forgot that like before in the 2bl was full of odd clubs with no fans pid by a rich guy, this would also happen in 3.liga and now it would be cheaper than in 2bl to o the trick and still the old traditionsvereins would not have enough money to compete against these.
  25. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

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    That's, frankly, bs. It's not as if you can't run a 3rd division club successfuly. But the current league setup isn't the only factor here - many clubs are also simply badly run, which shouldn't be forgotten.

    First of all: your two statements are only vaguely related (even if your point 2 were true, it doesn't change the fact that 3. Liga attendances haven't been an improvement over the old RL. I'd love to hear your reasoning for point 2, though.

    Rostock and Bielefeld weren't saved by the existence of the 3. Liga. The increased income in the 3. Liga isn't all that big, especially considering the costs for players and even travel are higher too. For a club like Bielefeld it isn't even a drop in the bucket.

    Those clubs are kept alive with direct or indirect public subsidies, from city and state governments (same in Dresden, and others - yeah, Braunschweig too at a time, for full disclosure). That's a basic fact one absolutely needs to understand - some 3rd division clubs are making massive losses (arround 4 years or so, Braunschweig had a deficit of over a million Euros in a single season). Some clubs with small fanbases are financed through sponsorship money, the bigger clubs are basically the soccer equivalent of "too big too fail", since the governments will come to the rescue most of the time.

    If people expected Mannheim and Ulm to make, they were in for a dissapointment from the start - with those clubs not even being in the RL at the time. The 2008 season was always going to be a huge crapshot - everyone knew that some clubs would be ruined in the process.

    That how much backing from sponsors a club has is extremely important in 3rd division football isn't new either.

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