Bayern Munich – the biggest name in German sport.
The record winners of the Bundesliga lifted the shield for the 25th time last season and are well on course to add to that this season.
In 2015, American magazine Forbes listed the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world. Competing with the massive market that the Premier League boasts, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, and all of the American sports teams that include the NFL, NBA and MLB, Germany’s own Bayern Munich ranked as the 11th most valuable sports team in the world and the fourth most valuable football team.
This is a massive achievement given that the Bundesliga does not have the worldwide popularity that the English and Spanish leagues hold, nor some of the financial backing that a lot of American sports teams have.
Bayern Munich’s riches have come from their success on the field. Currently coached by Pep Guardiola, they have won the domestic league for each of the past three seasons and currently hold an eight-point lead over second-place Borussia Dortmund at the mid-point of the 2015-16 season.
The Bavarian side were also responsible for seven of Joachim Löw’s German squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup – six of whom started the final and the seventh being Mario Götze who came off the substitutes’ bench to score the winner in the final.
In 2013, Bayern Munich also lifted Europe’s most prestigious club cup competition; the UEFA Champions League, 12 months after being upset on home soil by Chelsea in the final. Victory in this competition one summer and victory for the national team the following summer were a huge boost to the popularity of German football. And with it Bundesliga shirts sold like hotcakes.
This helped Bayern Munich no end as success breeds success and their fan support across the world increased no end leading to them breaking a record previously held by Benfica for most official fan memberships.