Scenarios and perspectives for football 2025

How could football look like in 2025: national sport or a billion euro business? Champions League or substitutes’ bench? Six scenarios describe different development trends of the soccer environment in Germany.

Due to the world cup, football is currently the focus of public interest. No matter whether we are considering it as a traditional national sport or as a billion euro business – it is surrounded by a complex and uncertain environment. Apart from the question of who will win the next game, there are further developments in the future which are difficult to foresee. What role will football and other sports play within society, what image may professional sports, amateur football and clubs have in the future? How could the rules as well as legal and financial frameworks develop, how could the market look in 2025? How is the German football league perceived, and where do the german clubs’ stand at international level?


These and further questions should be answered within the available scenario study. Thus, a large number of sources were analyzed and various experts were interviewed. Based on the method of the scenario management, six scenarios for the future of football in Germany were developed:

 

Football connects national sports and growth (Scenario 1)
In Germany, football is the most popular national sport: Many people play football and the various amateur leagues have their own attractiveness whilst at the same time setting the foundation for the professional leagues. Broad media coverage, large stadiums  providing venues for the live experience and the rise of fans at both regional and supra-regional level characterize the football image. Both, big and small clubs benefit from the growth market and the German National League is globally of high importance. In this scenario, three facets may be summarized: (a) continuous growth market with high return, (b) increasing overheated boom market with many different clubs in the international business and (c) the same boom market with a focus on less internationally successful club teams.
Bundesliga as a staged entertainment (Scenario 2)
The Bundesliga has caught up with big European leagues. Many international top players do not change to Madrid or Milan anymore but to Munich, Gelsenkirchen or Hamburg. This can lead to a division between the handful of large, internationally successful clubs and the rest of the medium sized clubs which can only follow in the wake of their more illustrious compatriots as they have no real chance of competing on the international stage. Football is primarily professionally staged and payed for media entertainment. Active sports become less important and amateur football is more and more restricted to its function as a “supplier” for the professional sports.
Staged football beyond the Bundesliga (Scenario 3)
The Bundesliga has not survived the professionalization without any damage. International leagues and competitions have positioned themselves so successfully that many top German clubs retire from the Bundesliga in order to seek the riches of a greater European league. With higher professionalism and monetary rewards being the main attraction, they are also highly susceptible to fluctuations within this newly created market boom. The Bundesliga is evolving into a “German first league” whose leadings clubs, have little chance of ever entering into the higher echelons of European footballs newly created Super League.
Tradition and regulation protects the national sport of football (Scenario 4)
If the classic melody of “Football’s coming home” ringing out from the stands, most people in 2025 share the vision of those responsible in the early 21st century. Having resisted the temptation of the profit-oriented football business but rather aspiring to maintain their traditional policy with its regulation of salaries and financial compensation of clubs, this approach, targeted on authenticity, has enabled them to secure growth as well as to ensure sustainable profitability. Therefore, the Bundesliga is amongst one of the most successful international leagues with many top teams playing regularly at a high international level.
Amateurs beat professional/profit football (Scenario 5)
Society values such as authenticity and sustainability have become core values. Active sports, in particular, are seen as a tool for a healthier lifestyle. Within this environment, international/professional football is viewed as “a national sport that has sold its soul”. In Germany, they focus increasingly on traditional policy as well as compensation and regulation of salaries and structures. Thus, teams of the German Football League are falling further behind in international competitions as well as in the “big business”.  Many clubs are foregoing investments in entertainment and focus on sports again. The fan base is strongly oriented on the region and the amateur sector is developing into a “small growth market”.
Football on the substitutes‘ bench (Scenario 6)
In 2025 the former national sport of Germany was twice pushed to the margins. On the one hand, sports have become generally less important on the other hand, football has been replaced by other sports. The game is seen as old-fashioned, the rise of fans is stagnating and the German clubs can hardly survive in the international business.

 

 

Thus, the scenarios describe diverse directions of development for the football environment in Germany. Since there is no clear future recognizable, the sport clubs and industries that are related to football should prepare themselves for uncertainty in order to be successful in the future. The German study on the future of football in Germany can be downloaded here.

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