March 23 – As Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert was talking about his international growth strategy for the Germany’s top tier league, two of his member clubs – Bayern Munich and Wolfsberg – were opening offices in China.
Bayern Munich is rapidly pushing its international expansion under CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and director of internationalisation and strategy Jörg Wacker. Having just opened an office in New York, they have also set up in Shanghai, celebrating their new location at a ceremonial opening with about 120 invited guests from the worlds of politics, industry and the media.
“We’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences on our previous trips to China, and we’ve felt the high esteem our club enjoys here,” said Rummenigge.
Bayern Munich will play two matches of their pre-season tour in China in July, against Arsenal in Guangzhou on July 19, and against AC Milan in Shenzen on July 22. Both matches are part of the International Champions Cup tournament. After China, Bayern will then move on to Singapore where they will play Cheleas on July 25 and Inter Milan on July 27.
“We have a broad fan base in China with more than 136 million followers at the present time, and we want to intensify our dialogue with them from now on. We’ll offer the Chinese market the right solutions, particularly in youth football, in the rapidly developing football world,” said Wacker.
Bayern Munich is the second “most influential” European team online after Manchester United, according to a recent survey. Bayern has one soccer school open in Qingdao at present and is promising a greater grassroots engagement in a market it is also expecting to generate sponsorship income from.
Wolfsburg in Beijing
While Bayern were focussing on their Shanghai opening, compatriot Bundesliga side Wolfsburg were opening up in Beijing’s 798 art district in what was described as a long term project.
Wolfsburg general manager Thomas Roettgermann told AFP: “At the end of the day, it’s such a huge market that every club which is interested in playing internationally should be in China.”
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