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Volume 7 No. 149
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Bayern Munich Signs Global Partnership Deal With EA Sports To Reach New Audiences

Bayern Munich has added a new global partner to its sponsorship roster after signing a long-term agreement with EA Sports. The Bundesliga club announced the new partnership with the U.S. video game developer on Monday in N.Y. Bayern Munich and EA Sports will work together on cross-marketing and content collaboration initiatives that will improve the team's level of authenticity in FIFA 17, the latest installment of EA Sports' football video game series. It is Bayern's fourth partnership with a U.S. company following deals with Goodyear, Procter & Gamble and Beats by Dre. Initial conversations between the club and EA Sports regarding a partnership started in December, a person with knowledge of the deal said. Both parties declined to disclose the deal's length or its financial terms. SBD Global understands similar global partnerships have an estimated annual value in the mid-seven figures. The agreement provides the German club with a new way to connect with U.S. audiences, Bayern Munich U.S. Managing Dir Rudolf Vidal said. "EA Sports is a perfect fit for Bayern Munich because we are both working hard to introduce Americans to soccer, and particularly international soccer," Vidal said. "FIFA is often the first experience many Americans have with our club and global football, so it’s important to ensure they have an authentic experience." Since opening a U.S. office in N.Y. in '14, Bayern Munich has been highly active in raising its brand awareness in the market. The team entered into media partnerships with Yahoo Sports, Goal.com and MSN, and launched dedicated U.S. social media channels.

OPENING DOORS: For EA Sports, the deal opens the door into Germany, Global Marketing Dir for FIFA Matt McKie said. "Our strategy is to partner with the biggest clubs in the world, with global reach and big fan bases," he said. "And Bayern Munich absolutely falls into that category. They are our only club partner in Germany." The focus of the partnership will be on improving the player experience in the game through head and face scans and a detailed portrayal of the in-stadium atmosphere. EA Sports will also set up gaming pods at Munich's Allianz Arena starting with the upcoming '16-17 season, which kicks off on Aug. 26. Vidal said that other forms of activation could include tournaments in which fans face off against players on the virtual pitch, as well as sharing digital content to cross-promote the two brands. EA Sports also has partnerships with several other top European clubs, including Real Madrid, Paris St. Germain and Juventus.

ENTERING A NEW SPORT: Bayern Munich is currently conducting an analysis to decide whether it will enter the world of esports with its own dedicated team. Bundesliga rivals Schalke and VfL Wolfsburg, along with a number of Premier League clubs, including Man City, have already formed esports teams or signed professional FIFA gamers. As part of the analysis, Bayern is taking a look at the potential reach such a move could provide. "It also has to be authentic," Bayern Munich IT & New Media Dir Stefan Mennerich said. "It has to be the right step. We have to think about whether we do it, but I think we have to." The deal with EA Sports could help the club in its evaluation of esports. EA Sports itself is exploring the best way to approach the esports arena. "We will have some announcements very soon," McKie said.