The Bundesliga is the first division of football in Germany. It was founded in 1962 to bring together the best clubs in the country in the same tournament. Until then, there were competitions (Oberliga) in each of the major regions: North, West, Southwest, South and Berlin.
Up to 46 teams applied for the inaugural 1963-64 season. The organization chose 16 based on criteria such as the results they had previously achieved, their economic status and having representation from the five Oberliga. After German reunification, Dynamo Dresden and Hansa Rostock entered the top flight directly, while the rest of the clubs of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) did the same in the lower divisions.
The Bundesliga is made up of 18 teams (it is the only one of the five major leagues that has less than 20) that meet twice throughout the season until completing 36 days. At the end, the positions in the classification determine the access to the European competitions. The best four qualify for the Champions League. The fifth disputes the Europa League. The sixth classified goes on to play the Europa Conference League. On the other hand, the two worst descend to the 2. Bundesliga. The third with the fewest points plays a play-off for permanence against the third in the second category. The main tiebreaker is the overall goal difference.
The Bundesliga television rights are managed by DFL Sports Enterprises and are sold domestically in conjunction with those of the 2. Bundesliga and the German Super Cup. Some of the channels that have televised the championship in recent years are Sky Deustchland, Eurosport, DAZN or ZDF. Globally, the tournament is broadcast in more than 200 countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Spain.
One of the peculiarities of German football is the 50 + 1 rule. This rule explains that a Bundesliga club must have the majority of its own voting rights in the hands of fans and partners. The measure was taken to prevent, as happens in other leagues in Europe, people with high purchasing power acquire control and leave institutions with large debts. There are some exceptions like those of Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim. The first two were founded by Bayer AG and Volkswagen as sports teams for their own employees. The third has been receiving financial support from Dietmar Hopp, co-founder of SAP for more than 20 years.