Things are on the rise in the top German soccer league, the Bundesliga. Not just the level of play, but the depth of teams as well as popularity have been trending upwards for several years now. The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) noticed the league’s rising talent as well, increasing their bids to the UEFA Champions League — the highest level of international club play in Europe — to three automatic slots plus one playoff bid.
With local fans already showing up to more Bundesliga games in person more than any other sport save for the NFL in the world, it’s hard to understate the league’s current impact and potential growth. Via Statista, the graph below displays the 2013-14 average game attendance for the 11 top ranking leagues.
Not even the English Premier League juggernauts of Manchester United, Arsenal Man City or Liverpool nor Spanish La Liga one-two punch of Barcelona and Real Madrid could draw more fans than the Bundesliga’s top draw in the 2013-14 season. Somewhat surprising, Borussia (there is a typo in the table below) leads all soccer clubs in Europe for attendance.
Beyond local fans and UEFA, Fox Soccer has also taken note of the German league. The broadcasting network already streamed some Bundesliga fixtures on the Fox Soccer 2Go platform, but never all 306 matches. In addition to streaming every single league match, Fox has doubled down on the league by adding televised games as well. A total of 58 matches will be shown on TV on the Fox Sports 1, 60 on Fox Sports 2 and the final 188 games being shown on Fox Sports Plus.
The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) has also seen an increased presence in Germany as six active members are currently on Bundesliga squads, with three more US players currently on clubs rating in Germany’s second tier. The German league is has the most US players in foreign leagues, barely edging out the Championship, England’s second tier, and trailing only Mexico’s Liga MX that boasts seven US capped players.
According to the Fox Soccer schedule, the opening match will be three time reigning champion Bayern Munich against the near-relegated Hamburg side. The match is set to be broadcasted on Fox Sports 2 at 2:30 pm eastern on Friday, August 14. While up-and-coming 20-year-old USMNT member Julian Green is under contract with Bayern until 2017, it’s possible, albeit unlikely, he could make an appearances and further boost the Bundesliga’s profile in the United States. If you happen to be busy on that Friday, tune in the next day as Werder Bremen just signed USMNT striker Aron Johannssen. Werder is set to kick off at 9:30 eastern on Saturday the 15th. While causation does not determine correlation, the United States has seen the the profile of the national men’s team rise in recent years, possibly due to Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan all crossing the ocean to play in the Premier League. Hopefully a similar level of fan interest will happen with the Bundesliga.
(Header image via Wikipedia)
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