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SBD Global/June 18, 2014/Franchises

Bayern Munich Opens Office In NYC As Part Of Club's Long-Term U.S. Strategy



Julian Green’s appearance on the U.S. roster could help bolster Bayern Munich's presence state-side.
Bundesliga side Bayern Munich "is coming to America, and it plans to stay," according to HJ Mai of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The club, whose team will make its first trip to the U.S. in 10 years this summer, "has become the first German football club and one of only a few in Europe to open an office in the States." Its newly created U.S. subsidiary, FC Bayern Munich LLC, "quietly opened its doors in Manhattan in April but the office will have a formal unveiling July 31." The subsidiary "will handle all of Bayern’s U.S.-related business matters, including marketing, sales and PR." Bayern "intends to increase its stateside fan base and strengthen the position of its brand, product and philosophy in the U.S. market," according to Jörg Wacker, the club’s exec board member for internationalization and strategy.

EAST AND WEST: Bayern "analyzed global markets and determined it would focus on two, the U.S. and China." Wacker said, “It’s a long-term strategy what we are doing here. It has to be sustainable. It’s not just flying over, playing a tour and leaving.” The club "also is interested in new revenue streams, though finances are not at the forefront of its U.S. strategy during the early phase." Wacker: “We are open for new partnerships. For U.S. companies who are maybe interested in going to Europe. I think we are an amazing brand with great image results.” A three-member team works out of the office, and "development will dictate any future hiring," according to Rudolf Vidal, managing director of the subsidiary. Vidal: “The staff is enough for doing the first steps, and we also have resources from the headquarters.” The club "plans to work with TV, print and digital media outlets to generate original content and will launch a U.S.-specific website, app and online shop." No official launch dates have been set, but Bayern said that it "would happen before a summer U.S. tour that begins July 30 and runs through Aug. 7." Bayern "will work with its global partners" such as adidas, Allianz and tour title sponsor Audi, which each hold an 8.33% stake in the club, to organize promotional events around the tour and beyond. Wacker: “The tour is a big step. It will provide the fan base here in the U.S. with the opportunity to see our players and get connected to them.” The club said that "no other activation plans had been drawn up yet."

MARKETING MISSION: Vidal said that Bayern’s partners "wanted to have the club in the U.S. market for marketing and communications purposes." Bayern "already has held talks with Fox Sports regarding the network’s coming Bundesliga rights deal, which will start with the 2015-16 season." As the league’s flagship team, Bayern "has a lot of interest in increasing not only its global profile but also that of the Bundesliga as a whole." Fox Sports 1 GM & COO David Nathanson said that "it is too early to share any information about the network’s plans surrounding Bayern." Nathanson: “It’s hugely convenient that they opened an office in New York. It also helps us to connect with them, specifically anything we want to do around the club" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/16 issue).
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