Clark Hunt: "The partnership has exceeded our expectations"
FC Bayern have been cooperating with FC Dallas for over a year now. The American club is owned by Clark Hunt, who is also an important figure in American football as a part owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. Hunt is pleased with how the partnership with Bayern has developed, as he said on a visit to the Bavarian capital.
The 54-year-old once again took a look around the Allianz Arena, inspected the FC Bayern Campus and met with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for a Weißwurst breakfast at the club's Säbener Straße training ground. "I've been to Munich a few times in my life and always enjoy it. It's a wonderful city with unbelievably nice people," Hunt told fcbayern.com. And he has big plans with Munich.
The interview with Clark Hunt
fcbayern.com: Mr. Hunt, how do you summarise the partnership between your FC Dallas and FC Bayern?
Clark Hunt:"It's definitely more than a handshake, unlike what used to happen when a US club teamed up with a European club. Many such co-operations ended without gain, but this is a live partnership because the management of both clubs share the same philosophy, especially in terms of developing young players. We have a common line and stand for the same values. It quickly became clear to us that something could really emerge from this co-operation. And indeed, the partnership has already exceeded our expectations in the first few months. A highlight was Chris Richards' move to Munich, which produced many positive headlines in the USA. The Bayern U23 side was in Dallas over the winter, which was a wonderful experience for our boys. I still see a lot of potential in our relationship and also hope that it isn't just a one-way street – maybe one day a Bayern youngster will move to Dallas."
fcbayern.com: Or perhaps even a big name? Arjen Robben is set to leave Munich.
Hunt:"We'd welcome him with open arms if he wanted to end his great career in Major League Soccer. He's a global star and would certainly help us."
fcbayern.com: A Bayern idol in Franz Beckenbauer has already been a pioneer in American football at the end of the 1970s. How did you perceive him?
Hunt: "Franz is one of the greatest! I have to go back in my family history. The 1974 World Cup in Germany was the first I was able to experience live. I was nine at the time. Since then I've been to every tournament except the 1978 edition, which we couldn't attend for political reasons. In 1974, I was at the final in Munich and we cheered on that great Germany team and the phenomenal Kaiser. My father met Franz Beckenbauer a few years later when Franz joined the New York Cosmos. I met him at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when he was Germany coach. It was incredible to say hello to this man who I'd been cheering on since I was nine. And it's even more incredible that we've now been able to build a partnership with FC Bayern, his club. I associate a large part of our family history, our fascination for soccer, with Franz – and it's nice that the partnership between Bayern and Dallas has come full circle."
fcbayern.com: In a sporting sense, FC Bayern is in a class of its own. But in the USA, for example, merchandising hasn't entirely been implemented perfectly. In the relationship between Bayern and Dallas, who is the teacher and who is the student?
Hunt:"That certainly depends on the subject at hand. In terms of sport, the roles are clearly defined and I couldn't wish for a better teacher than FC Bayern. We're definitely not doing everything wrong with our talent development, but we can still benefit a lot from Bayern's know-how. On the other hand, we have many business opportunities for both sides. FC Bayern is a global brand, and we can help to anchor this brand even more firmly in the USA. The Allianz Arena alone fascinates me every time I visit. Every time I discover something new that we could use in our stadiums in Dallas or Kansas."
fcbayern.com: You are also chairman of the NFL's International Committee. Would it be possible to host an American football game at the Allianz Arena?
Hunt:"We've been hosting games in London for several years now, and we've always got an eye on new venues because we want to offer our fans in other countries something local as well. Games have now been initiated in Mexico, and we've already talked about opportunities in China. Germany is definitely at the top of our list. We've got a very large fan base of football sympathisers there. More than 20 million Germans are interested in this sport, which is an incredibly high number, and the ratings on television are higher than ever before. I can very well imagine bringing a regular NFL season game to Germany – and Munich is definitely one of the first, if not the first, addresses on the list."