August 6, 2019

Germany: 2019-20 map showing Club Membership sizes (top 3 levels: Bundesliga, 2-Bundesliga, 3-Liga/56 teams) (figures from January 2019).

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 7:20 am

Germany: map showing club membership sizes (top 3 levels/56 teams) (figures from January 2019)

By Bill Turianski on 6 August 2019;

-World site (for Club Membership totals, which can be found at each club’s Profile page there)…
-2019–20 Bundesliga (
-Official site of Bundesliga (English)…
-English-speaking Bundesliga blog…
-Summary – 2019-20 Bundesliga: fixtures, tables, results, stats, etc…

The map…
The total amount of dues-paying members of each of the 2019-20 German 1st, 2nd and 3rd division clubs are shown by the circles – large or small – which are centered on each club’s location. The larger the circle, the larger the club membership size. I simply doubled the club-membership-amount and used that figure for the square-pixel-size of the club’s circle. I had to stop at ~12-sq-pixels, though, or the 6-sq-pixel location-dots for each of the small clubs would have obscured their club-membership-circles. However, all 56 clubs on the map have their club crest shown in about the same size…approximately 50-by-50 pixel-size (ie, disc-shaped crests are 52-square-pixels; while the more block-shape crests are a few pixels less, and attenuated crests like ‘Gladbach’s and Werder’s are a few pixels more). It got a little tight in the densely-populated and fussball-centric Rhine-Ruhr region of western Germany, but I was just able to fit in all the clubs, from the top 3 divisions, there.

But when it came to the planet-Jupiter-like size of Bayern Munich’s club-membership circle, as well as the planet-Neptune-like size of both Schalke’s and Dortmund’s club-membership circles, I had to accommodate for that. So, the rather big circles for the 3 German mega-clubs with the largest number of members are placed partially outside the map, so as to not obscure aspects within the map.

The membership totals for each club are listed in the chart at the far right, along with 2019-20 divisional levels, with any promotions or relegations noted. (Note: Germany uses Roman numerals for divisions [Levels]… I=Bundesliga, II=2.Bundesliga, III=3.Liga.) Also listed in the chart are three more things…2018-19 home league average attendances, Seasons played in the 1st division (counting 2019-20, there will have been 57 seasons of Bundesliga), and German titles (with last title noted). All 2019-20 Bundesliga clubs, as well as all the clubs with more than 10,000 dues-paying members (27 clubs), are shown on the map via a thin horizontal band which notes their membership-size.

The 50+1 rule in German football.
Excerpt from…‘The 50+1 rule (German: 50+1-Regel) is an informal term used to refer to a clause in the regulations of the Deutsche Fußball-Liga. The clause states that, in order to obtain a license to compete in the Bundesliga, a club must hold a majority of its own voting rights. The rule is designed to ensure that the club’s members retain overall control, protecting clubs from the influence of external investors.’ {End of excerpt.}
Exceptions have been made for ex-company-teams with more than 20 years of financial support…Bayer Leverkusen (funded by Bayer [pharmeceuticals]), and VfL Wolsburg (funded by Volkswagen [motor vehicles]), as well as Hoffenheim (funded by SAP [a computer firm run by longtime Hoffenheim supporter Dietmar Hopp]). Nevertheless, there is now the whole charade of RB Leipzg, which does have (a few) club members, but that membership is exclusive. The average fan cannot join Rasenballsport (Lawnballsport) Leipzig, as a club member. RB Leipzig, which is owned by Red Bull [energy drink purveyors], have been a Bundesliga club for 4 seasons now, and are good enough to qualify for the Champions League, and are popular enough to draw over 38-K-per-game. Yet RB Leipzig have less than 1,000 club-members. That is because club-membership in RB Leipzig is open only to select corporate cronies, for a vast sum. Thus making a mockery of the 50+1 rule.

Football club membership in Germany usually entails benefits like discounts and first dibs on tickets, discounts on merchandise, and a free subscription to the club newsletter (or magazine), and usually (but not in every case) it gives a club-member voting rights, and plus sometimes even more free stuff {see 2 sentences below}. And in some cases (like with the biggest clubs), you can’t buy tickets without being a member, like with Bayern Munich and also, I think, with Dortmund (it’s confusing). Yearly dues are usually in the €25 to €60 range for adults.

I looked at all the big clubs’ websites for info on all this, and I decided to use the example of Borussia Mönchengladbach, because this Rhine-Ruhr-based club near the Dutch border had the most straightforward online pitch, and they offer plenty of “stuff”… [Become a club member (aka FohlenClub)/English translation]…
Membership in Borussia Mönchengladbach gets you: A selection from 3 gifts: Fan scarf with slogan; or a 10-Euro-donation to Borussia foundation; or a knit cap with slogan. Right of first refusal on day tickets. Discounted season tickets. 10%-off at FoalShop. Invitation to exclusive member events. 8 issues of the club-magazine, which is called FoalenEcho – The Magazine. Discount for Fanproject (community outreach) membership. Participation in the annual General Meeting (with voting rights). Free admission to the Borussia Mönchengladbach Women’s team, and to the Youth-teams. Member card. Price: Under-18s: €40, Adults: €60 (which is $67 USD)…

Sounds like a decent deal to me, and it seems that more than 85 thousand Mönchengladbach fans would agree.

German clubs with the largest Membership sizes, and clubs with the highest ratio of Members-versus-Crowd-size…
As mentioned further above, the 3 German clubs with the largest amount of dues-paying members are: Bavarian giants Bayern Munich (290,000 club-members), and two clubs 16 miles (22 km) apart in the Rhine-Ruhr: FC Schalke 09 (155,400 club-members), and Borussia Dortmund (155,000 club-members).

The fourth, and only other German club with more than 100-K in club-membership, is FC Köln of Cologne. FC Köln, who were just promoted back to the Bundesliga, have 102,000 members. After that, there are 4 other German clubs with over 50-K in club-membership…Hamburg (who are still stuck in the 2nd division) have 85.5 K club-members; the aforementioned Borussia Mönchengladbach, have 85.1 K club-members; the just-relegated VfB Stuttgart have 65.5 K club-members; and Eintracht Frankfurt have 59 K club-members.

Some medium-large clubs that are Bundesliga mainstays, have slightly less actual dues-paying members than their average attendance (70 to 90% ratio). Like Werder Bremen (36.5-K-in-membership / 40.2 K avg attendance: 90% ratio), and Hertha Berlin (36-K-in-membership / 49.2 K avg attendance: 73% ratio), and Wolfsburg (20.1-K-in-membership / 24.4 K avg attendance: 82% ratio). And note that two of these three (Wolsburg and Werder), the ones with ratios close to 100%, have won German titles in the last 15 years.

Some German clubs, though not exactly Bundesliga mainstays, draw above-or-near-to 40 K per game, yet have only have dues-paying membership in the 20-to-25-K-range (ie, nearer to a ~50% ratio). Falling into this category are: current-Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf, as well as the just-relegated sides Hannover 96, and FC Nürnberg.

As of mid-2019, within the top 3 levels of German football, there are 9 clubs that have more dues-paying members than their 2018-19 average attendance (ie, a +100% ratio). This category comprises the top 7 highest-drawing clubs in Germany last season, plus Bayer Leverkusen (the 19th highest-drawing German club), plus the currently-3rd-division side 1860 Munich (who are the 27th highest-drawing German club).
The list below includes A) Club-membership Rank; B) Club-membership total / 2018-19 Avg Attendance; C) Percent-capacity; D) Level.
1) Bayern Munich: 290 K club-members / 75 K avg attendance (100%-capacity) [1st div].
2) Schalke: 155.4 K club-members / 60.9 K avg attendance (98%-capacity) [1st div].
3) Dortmund: 155 K club-members / 80.8 K avg attendance (99%-capacity) [1st div].
4) FC Köln: 102 K club-members / 49.5 K avg attendance (99%-capacity) [2nd div in 18/19; promoted to 1st div for 19/20].
5) Hamburg: 85.5 K club-members / 48.8 K avg attendance (86%-capacity) [2nd div].
6) Mönchengladbach: 85.1 K club-members / 49.6 K avg attendance (92%-capacity) [1st div].
7) Stuttgart: 65.5 K club-members / 55.5 K avg attendance (90%-capacity) [1st div in 18/19; relegated to 2nd div for 19/20].
8) Eintracht Frankfurt: 59 K club-members / 49.7 K avg attendance (95%-capacity) [1st div].
11) Bayer Leverkusen: 28.3 K members / 27.9 K avg attendance (93%-capacity) [1st div].
15) 1860 Munich: 22.4 K club-members / 14.9 K avg attendance (70%-capacity) [3rd div].

And finally…One club that is not a large club by any means, yet are rather well-supported in terms of club-membership-size-versus-average-crowd-size, bears mentioning. That is the newly-promoted FC Union Berlin, a club that hails from the former East Germany. FC Union Berlin play at a 22-K-capacity stadium in the eastern part of Berlin, which is called Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium at the old forester’s house). In 2013, this stadium was re-built and expanded with the labor of, and funds from, the club’s supporters. FC Union will play in the Bundesliga for the first time in 2019-20. FC Union have 20,000 dues paying members, and they averaged 21,200 per game last season in 2-Bundesliga, when they finished in 3rd place, and then won the Relegation Play-offs over VfB Stuttgart, 2-2 aggregate and on the away goals rule. It was the first time the 2nd-division team won the Bundesliga Relegation Play-off in 7 years.
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Germany, by NordNordWest at File:Germany location map.svg.
-World site (for Club Membership totals, which can be found in each club’s Profile page there)…
-E-F-S site,
-2019–20 Bundesliga (
-2019-20 2. Bundesliga (
-2019-20 3. Liga (

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