The German Football League (DFL) has revealed that the revenue of clubs in the top-tier Bundesliga dropped by around 5.4% during the 2019-20 season, which was severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DFL was forced to suspend the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga seasons in March 2020 as the pandemic took hold, meaning that the final nine match days were held behind closed doors.

As a result, ticket sales in the Bundesliga alone fell by 30% to €363.5m (£312m/$432m). The 18 Bundesliga clubs generated a total revenue of €3.8bn during the 2019-20 season, a 5.4% drop on the previous year.

2.Bundesliga clubs generated a total revenue of €726m, around 7.2% less than the previous year. The overall drop in revenue across the two divisions amounted to around 5.7%.

Christian Seifert, chief executive of the DFL, said: “No one was prepared for the coronavirus crisis and the extent to which it would affect all areas of life worldwide, and German professional football is no exception.

“Over the past 20 years, the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga have established economic foundations on which the two leagues can build their future development. However, it is clear that the massive ramifications of the pandemic will require all clubs to continue to act with financial discipline and foresight.”

Despite the pandemic, the total revenue achieved by the Bundesliga in the 2019-20 season marked the third highest figure of all time. The DFL stressed however that the impact of the pandemic would be much more pronounced during the 2020-21 campaign, with the vast majority of matches having been played behind closed doors.

The Bundesliga did begin this season with a limited number of fans permitted in stadiums but matches have been held without spectators since October. Clubs had been allowed to open their stadiums at 20% capacity, providing local infection numbers were low and the relevant hygiene processes had been approved

There are 10 matches of the Bundesliga season remaining and it would appear that fans will not return until next season. Seifert said in January that it was unlikely supporters would be allowed back in stadiums this season, and he previously warned that the Bundesliga’s turnover could drop by as much as €1bn if matches remained behind closed doors.

Image: Валерий Дед/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size