The big questions for 2021: Part 5
Wed, 30/12/20, 12:00
Wacker: ‘Our goal is to stay close to our fans’
2020 has been a challenging year for FC Bayern with the coronavirus pandemic, but the club has overcome everything to win the second treble in its history. It means the bar for the coming months is high. Going into 2021, leading figures at Germany’s record champions spoke to club magazine “51” about what’s to come. In the fifth of seven parts, we sat down with the club’s board member for internationalisation and strategy Jörg Wacker.
Interview with Jörg Wacker
Coronavirus will continue to concern the world in 2021, so what influence will this have on FC Bayern’s international aspirations?
Wacker: “This pandemic has once again highlighted how important it is to have local structures on the ground. That’s why we’re already very well positioned with our offices in New York and Shanghai. Our office in New York has been partially staffed again since September, with the other employees working remotely. We’re already three steps ahead in China and even managed to do a Trophy Tour with all the cups in December. This pandemic won’t tear the world apart, and FC Bayern will remain a global brand with fans around the world.”
The 2020 Audi Summer Tour in China had to be cancelled, resulting in the innovative Audi Digital Summer Tour. Are you currently planning for two possibilities?
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to implement a summer tour in 2020 for understandable reasons. It’s important to understand that a tour is only the highlight of our multi-layered international activities. We hope to do another tour soon, but we have to remain realistic. COVID-19 will keep us occupied for a long time and the workload for the players is higher than ever this season. That’s why it's the right thing to take a two-pronged approach for 2021 and we will once again plan a digital summer tour with our partner Audi. This will be even more innovative, although we were already the first club in the world to go down such a creative route in the summer. Our goal is to stay close to our fans, especially during coronavirus and despite the physical distance. In the future, digital formats can also accompany a tour even more intensively or generally extend it. And it also makes the content permanently more accessible to the global fan base. New technology will help to make the FC Bayern brand even more tangible worldwide, thus connecting us even more closely with our fans and making new fans aware of our club.”
Southeast Asia is the new focus market for FC Bayern in the near future alongside China and the USA. How do you identify new markets?
“In order to evaluate what is attractive for us, we first look at about 30 key figures to understand the markets based on data and facts. In addition to economic or purchasing power and the presence of our global partners, these also include general football interest, interest in FC Bayern, the TV presence of the Bundesliga and infrastructural factors. Over 600 million people live in Southeast Asia and interest in football is just as high as in Europe. In addition, the region will be the fourth-largest economic area in the world by 2030, after North America, the EU and China. We see great potential there."
Has the global pandemic had a negative impact on merchandising revenues?
“Of course, coronavirus has hit us in merchandising, especially in the stores, which we had to close several times on the orders of the authorities. But the treble meant we were able to achieve an extremely high level of attention around the world, and we’ll definitely take this momentum into the new year. And in December we set new standards with the opening of the FC Bayern World, which we will also benefit from. As we also intensified the focus in our online sales channels from March, we were able to serve fans worldwide in the best possible way with our own online store and via our store on Amazon. Our development in e-commerce is second-to-none and fills us with confidence for the future, just like the entire merchandising area.”
In the fourth part of our “Big questions” series, we spoke to marketing director Andreas Jung: