Bundesliga clubs say new TV rights deal closes gap to Premier League

Bundesliga clubs have praised the league's new multi-billion-euro television deal, with Bayer Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade saying: "It closes the gap on Premier League."

Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described the €4.64 billion contract as "outstanding."

On Thursday, the German Football League (DFL) announced that the four-year deal would generate an 85 percent income rise for Germany's top two divisions.

The agreement for screening rights is worth €1.159bn per season and will begin in the 2017-18 season.

The DFL has broken the billion-euro barrier for a season for the first time, and its CEO Christian Seifert told a news conference an increase in revenue from international Bundesliga rights would raise income further and mean it is likely to top €1.4bn a year.

The development brings the Bundesliga close to La Liga, where it was announced last week that clubs shared €1.2bn for audio-visual rights last season, while Premier League clubs shared £1.6bn (€2.09bn), including prize money.

The 20 Premier League clubs will share £5.136bn (€6.562bn) between them for the 2016 to 2019 period.

"You have to pay a compliment to Mr Seifert and his team. They've done a wonderful job" Rummenigge said.

"My wish was to break the billion-euro barrier, and that wish was fulfilled. It's an outstanding result for Bundesliga and Bundesliga II. You could say it's outstanding."

Rummenigge said the financial boost would make the Bundesliga "better off" in the race with the other European leagues.

Leverkusen's Schade also thanked the German League for "achieving the optimum, maybe even more than we could have expected."

He said: "Of course there is even more money in England, but through the new contracts the gap has now got smaller. Overall, it's a fantastic result."

But the exact allocation of the €4.66bn has yet to be decided, and smaller clubs are aware they could face a fight for their share.

"The development is impressive," Michael Meeske, the Nurnberg finance executive, said.

"As a second division club we naturally have to see how the allocation of the money will be between the two leagues."