Professional club FC Bayern Munich wants to be champion

technique during training

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann (left) uses the data to prepare.

(Foto: Getty images)

Düsseldorf Donata Hopfen is not lacking in ambition. Since the beginning of the year, she has headed the German Football League (DFL), the association of 36 professional clubs, and the superlative suits her just fine: “We want to become the most digital league in the world.”

The organization is driving modernization forward with a number of projects, such as “stadium innovation”. But in the end, massive initiatives by the clubs are crucial for real success – as is the case now with FC Bayern Munich, the German record champions who have won the last ten championships in a row.

Thanks to a far-reaching new partnership with the US software house Adobe, the successful footballers want to venture into new digital dimensions internationally as well. The Bayern CEO, ex-national goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, should deliver his masterpiece.

Two years ago, the Bavarians were not even the best in Germany when it came to data and the network. At that time, they had to give way to RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04 in an evaluation by the digital agency Nexum for the “kicker”.

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Almost all Bundesliga clubs are active in e-sports or use data to record player performance or to find suitable talent, for which Sven Mislintat, sports director of VfB Stuttgart, as co-founder of Motionmetrics GmbH, has even developed his own software.

Things looked very different this spring when the Nexum jurors tested the digital clout of European clubs: FC Bayern was ahead, ahead of FC Barcelona and RB Leipzig. The Munich-based company “consistently pursued a holistic digital strategy”. The online shop, social media, e-sports, professional networks and marketing effects were evaluated.

>> Read the interview with Bayern boss Oliver Kahn here: “In the end I’m still a football romantic”

FC Bayern may grieve even over elimination in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Economically, the previous 2020/21 financial year was extremely successful with sales of EUR 644 million, and the operating profit was more than EUR 98 million. And: In e-commerce, revenue of 100 million euros was generated – no other German club manages that much.

Digitization should help to strengthen your own brand power. The marketing experts are targeting almost 300,000 club members and 125 million followers in more than 30 global social networks. In the summer, top clubs often play abroad to mobilize supporters, but the internet offers completely different opportunities to promote stars and plays, 24/7 and in real time.

FC Bayern is attracted to a large market

Overall, Real Madrid may only be in the middle class in terms of digitization, but nobody in European football has more followers: 272.5 million. In contrast, even FC Bayern still seems small with almost 125 million. The Spaniards have consolidated their top position with the alliance announced last November with the tech group Adobe, which also acts as a sponsor.

Thanks to its customer data platform, Real can create fan profiles in real time, knows exactly how the clientele “ticks” and how to inspire them with personalized content. Adobe users FC Bayern now also rely on this “Experience Cloud”. “It makes little sense to offer a Manuel Neuer fan the latest jersey from another player,” says CEO Kahn.

There is a large market that FCB Digital & Media Lab GmbH, founded in 2018, wants to exploit with its 75 employees. The club already generates around 30 percent of the sponsorship revenue of 207 million on digital platforms. According to Media Director Stefan Mennerich, it is also “particularly helpful to look beyond sports to the best digital companies in the fields of content, entertainment and e-commerce”. Maybe they should invite Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to the Allianz Arena.

More: The jersey as an entry ticket: This start-up connects sports clubs and fans

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