Football market growing at an above-average rate / New HSH Nordbank study on global trends

Hamburg/Kiel, May 8, 2008 - Football (in North America: soccer) is set to remain a global growth market in the years to come, further consolidating its status as the most popular sport in the world. This is shown in the new study by HSH Nordbank entitled “Wirtschaftsfaktor Fußball” (“Football as an economic factor”), which was drawn up jointly with the Hamburgisches WeltWirtschaftsInstitut (HWWI). The study analyses the economic dimensions of football and illustrates future trends. According to this study, not only will the professional leagues, but all football-related markets, from TV and marketing rights through advertising and sponsoring, down to new media and producers of sporting goods, will benefit from this trend. The increasing globalization of the entertainment and leisure industry will also further step up international marketing in football. This affects primarily individual players, but increasingly also clubs and entire leagues. Asia in particular will become the leading growth market thanks to the growth of income and population in tandem with the incipient football boom. In China alone the market potential will increase by a factor of five, to USD 250 billion, by 2020. Worldwide consumer spending on football is set to grow faster than incomes. The global football market is one of the sectors recording above-average growth.

It is important for the Bundesliga to participate in the global growth market in order to be able to compete with the other major leagues in Europe in commercial and sporting terms. Developing new sources of income presupposes that the Bundesliga increases its attractiveness for spectators, media and sponsors. A more professional attitude and tougher competition may lead to more innovation, new business models and alternative forms of finance. One important step in this direction would be more intensive marketing by the clubs themselves and a restriction of revenue-sharing within the leagues. Introduced as an instrument for ensuring sporting equality within the Bundesliga, revenue sharing has mainly resulted in more even income distribution among the players, but not in the intended redistribution of sporting strength between the clubs. Ultimately, centralized marketing and revenue sharing have acted as an obstacle to higher quality in the Bundesliga and made it difficult for German clubs to catch up with the top European clubs. The fact that most of the top international stars play in other leagues reduces the attractiveness and marketing potential of the Bundesliga.

HSH Nordbank AG is a strong regional bank in Northern Europe with total assets of € 205 billion. Some 4,800 of the bank’s employees provide corporate and high net-worth clients around the globe with premium bank products and services. In its core region of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, it is the market leader in the corporate customer segment. HSH Nordbank is an acknowledged partner of the capital markets and international sector specialist. Its main focus is on transportation and real estate. In fact, HSH Nordbank is the world’s largest provider of ship finance and covers the entire value chain in the transportation segment. In the area of real estate, HSH Nordbank is one of the strongest banks in Germany, acting as a provider of services relating to all aspects of real estate.

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