Created on 28-05-2014 at 14:00 PM
Franz Beckenbauer has been associated with Bayern since 1959, so he was unsurprisingly at ease on Wednesday as he mounted the media centre steps and took a seat on the podium alongside Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Jörg Wacker. The Kaiser is a former player, head coach, supervisory board chairman and president of the club and bears the title of honorary president. Beckenbauer has now taken on another function with Bayern as the club’s international brand ambassador, spearheading FCB’s drive to significantly expand its North American operations.
The club icon will head the Munich delegation to the Audi Summer Tour USA 2014, facilitating networking efforts and meeting potential sponsors. “Our objective is to increase awareness of the Bayern Munich brand name around the world. Furthermore, we naturally wish to gain a financial benefit from this step,” club chairman Rummenigge told the midweek press conference.
Bayern aim to grow turnover in the US market especially in the merchandising sector. Beckenbauer, who played for New York Cosmos at one time, will assist in the effort. “He is comfortably the best-known face the club has ever had. This is a man enjoying the highest reputation in the world of football,” continued Rummenigge. Board director for internationalisation and strategy Wacker commented: “Franz is an outstandingly appealing figure with an exceptional network which we want to use for ourselves going forward.”
'Leaving the first footprint'
Beckenbauer barely hesitated when Rummenigge and Wacker approached him with the new concept. “When FC Bayern calls…” stated Beckenbauer: it was impossible for him to say no. “We can go a long way over there. It’s high time we were properly active. Pack ma’s an – let’s go for it!“ the 68-year-old declared.
The schedule for the Audi Summer Tour USA includes two friendly matches involving the senior team, initially in New Jersey against Mexico’s most successful club Deportivo Guadalajara (1 August / 2 am CET) and then in Portland against the Major League Soccer All-Stars (7 August / 3.30 am CET). All the club’s current internationals should be involved in the second game, with the last of the group scheduled to fly in at the end of their vacation on 5 August. “The goal of the tour is to strengthen the FC Bayern brand positioning around the globe,” Wacker announced.
The intention this summer is to leave “a first footprint in the USA.” Following this, Rummenigge said there would be an “ongoing exchange. We don’t just want to go there for a week, make good money and then spend 51 weeks doing nothing.” Apart from star names such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Beckenbauer, youth teams, the basketball and the women’s team will also fly the flag for Bayern in the USA in the future.