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Bayern Munich Lets $100M Qatar Airways Deal End

  • The German soccer club and Qatar-owned airline are not renewing their deal.
  • Qatar's sports investments have recently expanded into major U.S. sports.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As financial investment from the Middle East continues to pour into American sports, a major European team is opting against the idea.

German soccer giant Bayern Munich is severing ties with Qatar Airways, which reportedly paid the club more than $109 million over the past five years to display its logo on players’ sleeves.

Bayern and the airline — owned by Qatar’s government — said it was a mutual decision not to renew the contract, which expires Friday. A joint statement touted the success both sides have had working together.

Supporters of the German club had long been opposed to the deal with Qatar. One fan club member said there would have been “continued protests,” like displaying banners during Bayern games calling out the team for sportswashing.

The move comes shortly after the Qatar Investment Authority struck a deal to purchase a roughly 5% stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment — owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards, and Mystics — becoming the first sovereign wealth fund to invest in major U.S. professional sports teams.

Qatar’s investment portfolio includes majority ownership of French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, which counts Qatar Airways as its primary shirt sponsor.

An interesting aside in the Bayern situation: In 2009, Qatar acquired a 17% stake in Volkswagen — the German carmaker is a minority owner of Bayern through a 9% share in the club held by VW subsidiary Audi.

A new sleeve sponsor will be a top priority for Bayern, which brought in $739 million in revenue during the 2021-22 season, according to Forbes.

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