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Bayern´s Hoeness suggests football levy

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 17 Mar 2009

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Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness has suggested each household in Germany pay an extra two euros (2.5 US dollars) per month to put German league football back on terrestrial television.

Hoeness has suggested an additional levy to the 17.98 euros (23 US dollars) German TV licence fee to help the professional game here close the yawning gap between its TV revenue compared to those in England, Spain and Italy.

“My biggest hope is that folk will at some point be prepared to pay two euros a month for their football,” Hoeness told German finance magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

“That’s not even half a pack of cigarettes or a small beer in the pub.”

Hoeness believes an additional two euros per month from Germany?s 37 million TV households would generate some 900 million euros (1.166 billion US dollars) in annual revenue.

Bundesliga football is currently broadcast on cable television provider Premiere, with subscribers paying around 25 euros (32 US dollars) per month.

But the idea supported by Hoeness has been met with scepticism here as negative headlines appeared along the lines of “Solidarity surcharge for footballers” and “Compulsory fee for millionaire players”.

But Hoeness insists the minor extra payment could put German football back on terrestrial television here and would mean regular access to top Bundesliga games for all.

“I mean that for an additional two euros per month the man in the street would be able to watch the entire first and second Bundesliga programme ?free?,” said Hoeness.

“A two euro monthly charge would allow public service broadcasters ARD and ZDF to show every game live.

“Everyone, and I repeat, everyone could watch every match live, and/or at a time of their choosing, and/or potentially free on demand.

“More people in Germany are passionate about football than anything else.

“Not everyone wants to watch soap operas, folk music, romantic drama, arts programming, or even politics.

“But everyone still has to pay a 17.98 euro monthly licence fee.”

The 36 clubs in the Bundesliga’s two divisions currently receive a total of around 300 million euros (389 million US), a figure set to rise to 412 million (534 million US) from next season, so under Hoeness’ plan German clubs would receive double their current payment.

“German football would certainly then begin to close the gap to the other major European football markets,” added Hoeness, who steps down as Bayern manager at the end of the season.

Hoeness says while leading clubs around the continent received between 80 (103 million US) and 130 (168 million US) million euros annually from national TV rights, Bayern earn some 50 million (64 million US) from television, 30 million (38.8 million US) of which comes from the Bundesliga.

And with the financial crisis starting to seep down through German society, Hoeness said Bayern may drop their gate prices to help their fans.

“The man in the street is likely to be hit hardest by the global recession,” said Hoeness.

“People who can?t just get away for the weekend, who may no longer have money left over to follow their club and purchase a ticket for the match,” said Hoeness.

“If it becomes really bad and unemployment soars, we?ll review our ticket prices and adjust them to reflect the situation.”

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