Bayern Munich, champions of Germany for a record-breaking 10th consecutive season in 2022, have also underlined their commercial resilience in making a profit throughout the pandemic years. Bayern are the only German club to make a profit in each of the past three seasons, in 2021-22, their pre-tax profit was € 12 million. In 10 years, Bayern’s most successful era, they have won 19 major trophies, but they have also built a corporate model that is much envied around football. The value of Bayern Munich has quadrupled in recent years.
Bayern’s president, Herbert Hainer, explained at the AGM the club stands on three pillars: sporting success; economic stability; and social commitment. The pandemic does not appear to have caused any of Bayern’s key areas to collapse. “We continue to be absolutely stable as a club overall with all departments. Even more than that, we have made profits every year and continue to set standards as a club. Our club is a role model throughout Europe,” he said.
Bayern Munich’s income totalled € 639.9 million, an increase of 2% on 2020-21’s € 630 million. The club said they had come through the past difficult year very well, a period characterised by high gas prices, inflation and the continuing hangover of covid-19. “This is a strong result,” said Bayern’s Chief Financial Officer Jean-Christian Dessen. “We never spend more than we earn and we are completely debt free.”
This is quite evident in Bayern’s transfer activity. In 2021-22, they spent just € 57.7 million, but their outlay in 2022-23 has so far totalled € 137.5 million, although they recouped € 104 million in sales. Among the big fees was the € 67 million paid for Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus and € 32 million for Liverpool’s Sadio Mané. On the either side of the ledger, Bayern received € 45 million from Barcelona for goal machine Robert Lewandowski.
Bayern are now 100% owners of the Allianz Arena and they have 295,000 members making them the biggest membership club in the world. The Bayern campus has now been fully paid off and the site has already appreciated considerably. The portents are good for further growth, despite the difficult backdrop, and Bayern anticipate group revenues to rise to € 770 million in 2022-23.
Bayern have received some criticism for benefitting from a sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, notably at the 2021 AGM. Bayern receive some € 20 million a year from the airline, which represents 10% of their sponsorship and advertising income. The club has said it will discuss the issue after the forthcoming World Cup. Oliver Kahn, Bayern’s CEO, commented that the club is discussing the issue with its stakeholders: “If you want to change something, you have to meet people, talk to them and exchange ideas… you have to listen, understand and explain. We’re doing that within our partnership with Qatar Airways.”
Bayern remain one of the world’s most proficient clubs when it comes to commercial activity and overall, their earnings from this stream totalled more than € 375 million in 2021-22. Overall income from matches totalled € 160 million while media revenues from domestic fixtures totalled € 100 million. Bayern’s wage bill was € 324 million, which equated to 51% of income.
Bayern’s position in the game has meant that sponsors are happy to maintain and broaden relationships with the club. For example, Bayern’s shirt sponsor, Deutsche Telekom, has been involved with them for 20 years, the T logo becoming synonymous the country’s most successful football entity. Similarly, Bayern have extended their partnership with Proctor & Gamble for a seventh year. This is spearheaded by the club’s “stronger together” initiative which promotes mental health. As part of this, P&G donates € 500 for every Bundesliga goal scored by Bayern’s men and women first teams.
Three huge icons of German corporate life, Audi, Allianz and Adidas, all have 8.33% stakes in Bayern. But Bayern is not just a German brand, it is very much a global club and offices have been opened in the US and Asia. Bayern almost acts as a conduit for Deutschland AG to break into new markets.
Bayern’s domination of German football shows no sign of letting up, despite the loss of key players. They have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League after winning their first four group fixtures and they have lost just once in 10 league games. They are second in the table, four points behind Union Berlin, but nobody would seriously bet against them adding another Bundesliga title to their trophy cabinet.