Living in Singapore, it can be a bit tricky to follow the greatest teams in European football. Many of the best evening matches in Europe are televised in the middle of the night and flying to Europe to watch in-person would be cost prohibitive.
By Charles Brewer, CEO DHL eCommerce.
So when FC Bayern München – one of the best football teams in the world – comes to my neighborhood on their summer tour of Asia, you bet I’m going to come out and show my support, especially given DHL’s logistics and e-commerce partnership with the team!
As excited as I am about FC Bayern’s Audi Summer Tour, which kicks off in two weeks, I must admit there is one match that presents a small conflict. I’m a life-long Arsenal supporter, and the mighty ‘Gunners’ will face FC Bayern in the first match of the Audi Football Summit on July 19 in Shanghai.
As I take in that match with some of our customers, my DHL colleagues and our FC Bayern counterparts, I promise to do my best to remain neutral (and hopefully the fact that will be wearing my favorite pair of Arsenal socks will go unnoticed).
I am thrilled to have FC Bayern back in Asia for their Audi Summer Tour and am looking forward to the rest of the matches in China and Singapore.
Regardless of my personal bias and allegiance, I admire FC Bayern for two reasons. First and foremost, they are simply an excellent team who very, very consistently deliver. Just a few weeks ago they wrapped up their fifth-straight title in the German league – a Bundesliga record. They have a roster full of incredible talent – Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, and Arturo Vidal come to mind – and have set the standard in German football for years.
But I also admire FC Bayern’s international ambition, and I’m not just talking about their drive to win the Champions League. I mean the way they look beyond Germany to establish themselves as a truly global club.
Consider this: FC Bayern have a dedicated board member in charge of internationalization. His name is Joerg Wacker. His approach is quite simple: “You have to get out there in the world if you want to play with the heavyweights.”
Outside of their headquarters in Munich, FC Bayern also have a New York office and an office in Shanghai. The lights are literally always on at an FC Bayern office around the world, working to expand the club’s reach into key football markets and grow their huge fan base outside of Germany.
Becoming a global brand is due, in large part, to a long tradition of success on the pitch. Not every team can boast the same winning record as FC Bayern: 27 domestic titles, 18 German Cup wins, and five Champions League trophies; plus a long legacy of world-class players.
But becoming a global football club also involves creating easy and meaningful ways for fans – no matter where they are geographically – to feel close to the team.
The summer tours, which have taken FC Bayern to the US twice and Asia three times in the past five years, are part of this, but the team can only stay for so long before it is time to return to Germany and get started with the season.
One of the key pieces to the puzzle is enabling fans to craft their own fan identify with official team merchandise. As the team’s official logistics and full-service e-commerce partner, DHL plays a key role in making this possible for FC Bayern. In 2015, DHL helped FC Bayern launch its online flagship store on Tmall Global, to provide official merchandise for fans in China. As we saw during FC Bayern’s summer tour that year, it didn’t take fans long to get decked out in official FC Bayern gear. With a dedicated platform on Tmall Global and our DHL fulfillment center in Hong Kong, these orders are a breeze for fans.
We expect more of the same this summer as FC Bayern continue to go global.
Away from football, the ability to localize your product and have it readily available for quick and seamless delivery is where DHL eCommerce and our global fulfillment platform really scores.
Does it work? I think the numbers speak for themselves: in Deloitte’s most recent Football Money League, published in January and covering the 2015/16 season, 58 percent of FC Bayern’s total revenue came from sponsorship and fan merchandise. When it comes to total sponsorship and fan merchandise revenue, FC Bayern are second only to Manchester United.
I can’t promise I won’t crack a short smile if Arsenal win against FC Bayern during the summer tour, but win or lose, I’m excited to see FC Bayern continuing their evolution as a global football juggernaut. The packed stadiums that greet the team no matter where they travel around the world are proof that their efforts at internationalization are working quite well. As they say in Munich, Mia San Mia!
Follow DHL eCommerce on LinkedIn and never miss another update.