Anstoss am Finanzplatz

Kick-off in the Financial Centre: money doesn’t score goals, but top-level football still needs solid finances

On the first day of the football conference Kick-off in the Financial Centre, Dr. Lutz Raettig, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Frankfurt Main Finance, emphasised the close link between Eintracht Frankfurt and the financial centre. “Financial institutions dominate Frankfurt. Similarly, Eintracht, a club rich in tradition, is a giant in Frankfurt – Frankfurt is the leading financial centre in Germany, the Eintracht is the leading football club in the financial centre.”

Like football, the finance industry values high performance and fair competition. Both are based locally, but play out on an international stage. The Football Conference is organised by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Forum and is hosted in the Commerzbank Arena. Frankfurt Main Finance is partnered in support of the conference.

Uwe Becker, city treasurer of Frankfurt, and member of the Executive Committee of Frankfurt Main Finance, pointed out the importance of football in Frankfurt: “Frankfurt is a financial centre and a sports centre at the same time. This demonstrates the diversity of our Main Metropolis. At first glance the emotional world of football and the seemingly cool, number driven world of finance have little in common, but the two fields complement each other wonderfully.”

Raettig and Becker sat on the panel “Football and the financial community: What role can banks and capital markets play.” Raettig pointed out how revenue streams like TV influence competitiveness in football. For example, the English Premier League recently negotiated a new TV rights contract valued at EUR 6.9 billion for the years 2016-2019. The Bundesliga only received EUR 2.5 billion for their four-year contract. “Money does not score goals but high level sports requires sound finances,” explains Raettig. “A high commitment to football is traditionally alive in the financial centre, but potential still exists for even closer cooperation between these important players in the city and region.”

Becker pointed to the social importance of sports for Frankfurt: “In sports, children and adolescents socialize, learn fairness and mutual respect. This benefits our entire society. Respectful and mindful behaviour is not only in important in sports, but also in life. Therefore, the city is investing not only in professional sports, but also supports the sports clubs. In addition, a diverse sports offering makes the city even more attractive for people and companies. ”

Dr. Andreas Knebel, a partner at White & Case, also commented on the link between football and the financial centre. “In my view, it was time to create a platform for the theme of football and capital markets, and there is nowhere better than in financial centre Frankfurt.”

A 2010 study from McKinsey shows the economic importance of football. On average, each of the 306 regular season games in the 1st Bundesliga have about 40,000 viewers. Professional football generates 5 billion euros in Germany each year – thus, every 500th euro is generated by football. Furthermore, 71,000 full-time jobs depend on professional football. Considering part-time jobs, the total adds to more than 110,000 jobs. Annual sales and income tax and social security contributions total 1.7 billion euros.

The Football Conference is the prelude to a weekend filled with events revolving around sports. On Sunday, the city will celebrate the Eintracht Frankfurt’s season opener with the Frankfurt Main Finance Cup, where Eintracht will face F.C. Tokyo. On Saturday, the City of Frankfurt, Frankfurt Main Finance and Eintracht Frankfurt will host an evening reception in the Alte Oper. Expected in attendance are prominent athletes, politicians and business people.