It's been a good year for treble-winners Bayern Munich, and not just on the pitch. The German club have announced record sales of 432.8 million euros ($582 million) at their annual general assembly.
President Uli Hoeness broke down in tears Wednesday evening as he commended Bayern's historic season of success – the club's best in its 113-year history. The crowd chanted "Uli, Uli" as Hoeness, who is currently facing tax evasion charges, gave his enthusiastic support to the Bayern board.
Some 4,000 club members gathered at the Audi Dome in Munich to hear about the club's unprecedented year, which saw them win the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions league to become the first German team to ever win the treble.
Joining the 400 club
Turnover for the 2012-13 season stood at 393 million euros compared to 332 million the year before. When the turnover of the Allianz Arena Stadium Ltd was taken into account, that number rose to 432.9 milllion euros.
It's the first time the Bavarian club have exceeded 400 million euros in sales, putting them among an exclusive group of high-earners that also includes Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"Completing our sporting success, we can also be very proud of our commercial performance," said Finance Director Jan-Christian Dreesen, adding that Bayern had an "outstanding sporting and business season."
Hoeness address tax issues
Hoeness took the opportunity Wednesday evening to address his ongoing tax issues. German prosecutors have charged him with failing to pay taxes in relation to a Swiss bank account and, earlier this month, a regional court in Munich agreed to hear the case. Proceedings are set to begin in March.
"I made a big mistake by not having investment income abroad taxed. I did not take hundreds of millions out of the country," said a teary-eyed Hoeness. "I will face this mistake."
Hoeness, who has spent more than 40 years with the club as a player, manager and president, said he would hold a general meeting at the end of his trial to see whether he still had the members' backing.
"I have every faith in the Bavarian justice system," he said. "I hope this story has a good ending in March. If I am still allowed to be here then I promise you I will serve this club until the day I stop breathing."
Rising profits, more sponsorship
Bayern said its group operating profit rose 11 percent to 95.6 million euros, with net profit increasing 30 percent to 14 million. Shareholder dividends will also be a record 8.25 million euros, or 30 cents per share.
The club also announced a dramatic increase in sponsorship and marketing revenues, which jumped to 102 million euros compared to 82 million euro last season.
Club membership, already the highest of any team in Germany, swelled from 195,689 last season to 223,985.
dr/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, SID)
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