On the 20th of September for the first time in history, Red Bull Salzburg faced Red Bull Leipzig in European competition. Two teams both run by the same company, facing each other in a European finals. What happened to football?
On April 6th 2005, the red bull company bought local lower league Austrian side SV Austria Salzburg. When the take over was finalised the club adamantly claimed “this is a new club with no history”. They changed the colours from purple to red and quickly rose to the top, winning the Austrian Bundesliga in 2006-07.
RB Salzburg took the limelight off of the Vienna dominated Austrian Bundesliga and within 10 years they were the powerhouse of Austrian football, reaching the Europa League Semi Finals in 2017-18.
Upon the success of Red Bull Salzburg the Red Bull company quickly moved onto other projects with New York Red Bulls becoming a quick addition to Americans growing MLS. Additions to South America eventually came with Red Bull Brasil who currently play in Brazil’s 4th tier, Serie D.
The most controversial by no doubts of all the additions to the Red Bull footballing family was Red Bull Leipzig. For context, Leipzig had always been in need of a successful football team. Over 550,000 people live within the city and seemed the only city without a club in the Bundesliga of Germany. Red Bull were quick to pounce on this opportunity.
Germany notoriously has strict laws in place to stop companies from buying clubs and oppressing the already existing fan culture. However, RB Leipzig managed to slither through the processes, going ever as far as to change the club name officially to RasenallSport Leipzig. Like it’s aforementioned brother clubs, Leipzig’s rise to the Bundesliga was quick. Within a couple seasons Leipzig found themselves in the Champions League and fighting against Europe’s elite.
Leipzig found themselves in the Europa League group stages for the 2018-19 season and were drawn in a group with Red Bull Salzburg, Rosenborg & Celtic. This meant that Salzburg & Leipzig will go head-to-head twice- two clubs from the same company.
This raises many questions to the game and company involvement within it. For a long time companies have been involved in the higher ups of Football however it looks as if Football is becoming a landscape for companies to fight off to become the most powerful, buying clubs like properties.
There is no doubt that Red Bull have been immensely successful since that historic purchase of Salzburg in 2006 but it’s safe to say that the role of companies within football is on the verge of change as Red Bull look to dominate an international market of clubs.