The Bundesliga Experience: Commercial and Marketing Strategies for Football Clubs
An internship “The Bundesliga Experience: Commercial and Marketing Strategies for Football Clubs” based in five cities in North Rhine-Westphalia was held from 9th to 16th of December. The program was organized by the RMA business school for students, graduates and partners of “Sports Industry Management” faculty.
The group visited Borussia Dortmund, one of the most titled and financially powerful clubs in Germany. Also, the internship program included a detailed acquaintance with the management of Schalke 04 and a visit to the Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow. No less informative were the visits to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, which also firmly included in German football elite, and FC Fortuna from Düsseldorf.
Dates: 9–16 December 2018
Cities: Dortmund, Leverkusen, Mönchengladbach, Gelsenkirchen, Düsseldorf.
Football Clubs: FC Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Stadiums: BayArena, Veltins-Arena, Westfalenstadion, Signal Iduna Park, Merkur Spiel Arena.
Matches: FC Schalke 04 — FC Lokomotiv Moscow (UEFA Champions League); Borussia Dortmund — Werder Bremen (The Bundesliga); Fortuna Dusseldorf — Freiburg SC (The Bundesliga1); Borussia Monchengladbach — Stuttgart VFB (The Bundesliga).
Program: Master classes and seminars by commercial directors, marketing directors, as well as sporting directors and other top managers of the mentioned clubs; visiting and studying the infrastructure of stadiums, training centers and football academies; attending of football matches.
Topics of the business program: Commercial and marketing activities of football clubs; working with sponsors, partners and fans; ticket and season tickets programs and loyalty programs; match day organization, ways to extract non-football revenues from the stadiums operation; merchandising and licensing; football academies functioning etc.
Speakers: Philipp Grabolle (Senior Manager, Schalke 04 Business Development Department). Dennis C. Thom (Head of Marketing Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA). Tobias Steinfort (Project manager FC Fortuna Dusseldorf). Peter Hambuchen (Director for International Development, Borussia (Mönchengladbach). Florian Dederichs (Head of Brand & Sales Department Bayer (Leverkusen).
Florian Dederichs on the marketing campaign whose face was Chicharito — the Mexican striker of Bayer: “One of our most successful cases related to Chicharito was the decision to congratulate our Latin American fans with holidays which are popular in the region.
For example, in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and some other South American countries it`s customary to celebrate the Day of the Dead every year in early November. This is a very old tradition dating back to the times of the Aztecs and Mayans. This is a celebration of the deceased relatives memorial and according to ancient beliefs their souls return to their homes on this day. There are many habits associated with this Day — including the tradition of carnivals, whose participants appear in the form of the dead due to a specific sinister make-up.
For the first time in 2015 we posted our congratulations on this holiday in our Spanish-language twitter: a banner with made-up Chicharito and two other players.
This post was incredibly successful — taking into account the numerous reposts its audience reached 5 million people: it is still by far the most shared tweet ever addressed by German football clubs to a foreign audience.”
Dennis Thom on the PR campaign of Borussia on the eve of the final match in the Champions League against Bayern: “When we reached the Champions League final five years ago and realized that the decisive match at Wembley against Bayern is coming soon, we surely thought about how to make something of it. In the end, we came up with this: we bought a beach chair, put it in the center of London, right alongside of Buckingham Palace three days before the game, covered it with a club towel with the word ‘Occupied’, photographed it and posted on Facebook.
The related text was addressed to the British: ‘From Borussia — with love. You probably hoped to beat us at Wembley. And if it comes to the worst you thought that a bunch of sexy Spanish women would come to visit you. So what?! А full stadium of Fritz smashed you instead. Enjoy it!’
I don’t know maybe this joke is not very clear to you maybe you think: ‘Why beach chair lounger? What towel?’ But both the British and Germans understood everything perfectly. Especially those who are used to relax in Mallorca — there are constant disputes between them: ‘This is my beach chair! No, it’s mine! I took a place in the morning, and then left for breakfast! And I left a towel here ...’, and so on.
This photo instantly turned into a meme. It was well shared on the networks, it was shown on television, there was a lot of stuff written in the newspapers, blogs, and journalists wrote mainly that it seems like the Germans have a sense of humor but we didn’t know. It was a great PR in general. Which cost us virtually nothing by the way. He cost us 8 euros, exactly what we paid for the beach chair. It was a clearance sale in IKEA...”