Germany’s top professional soccer clubs rejected a proposal to sell part of their media rights to private equity investors.
The German Football League (DFL), the federation that runs the country’s top two divisions, sought to bring in outside investors and much-needed cash, particularly as it attempts to keep up with heightened competition from European powerhouses such as the Premier League and La Liga.
But the plan to sell 12.5% of the DFL’s international media rights failed to secure the necessary two-thirds support from the DFL’s 36 member clubs.
Firms such as CVC Capital Partners, Blackstone Inc., and Advent International showed interest in investing, following the former’s prior deals with La Liga and France’s Ligue 1, with the DFL looking to raise more than $2 billion.
During a general meeting in Frankfurt, 20 clubs voted yes, but a crucial 11 voted no, with five abstaining.
Fan sentiment played a significant role in the proposal’s defeat, as organized supporter groups for clubs such as Borussia Dortmund led nationwide protests, arguing the private equity involvement would overly commercialize the sport.
“We had a majority [in favor], but not the majority we wanted,” said Hans-Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive.