Dort­mund takes shot at gi­ant mar­ket for new fans

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou qi­uquan­lin@chi­

The Ger­man Bun­desliga soc­cer gi­ant Borus­sia Dort­mund an­nounced on Mon­day that it is look­ing to team up with Chi­nese com­pa­nies and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions to ex­pand its fan base and pro­mote its brand in China.

The team is the lat­est top tier Euro­pean soc­cer club to seek its way into the Chi­nese mar­ket in the midst of China’s am­bi­tious plan to be­come a soc­cer power.

“As a sports club with a his­tory of more than 100 years, we are now aim­ing to de­velop more mar­ket po­ten­tialin China ,” Cars ten Cramer, di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing of Borus­sia Dort­mund, said in Guangzhou, where the club will play against Italy’s AC Mi­lan in the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup on Tues­day.

The Ger­man club signed a mar­ket­ing agree­ment with Chi­nese bike-shar­ing com­pany Ofo Inc, fa­mous for its yel­low bi­cy­cles, dur­ing its sec­ond trip to China. The team’s col­ors are yel­low and black.

“We are not look­ing for po­ten­tial buy­ers or in­vestors from China. In­stead, we are mak­ing ef­forts to work with more part­ners to pro­mote brands in China, which is a strate­gic po­ten­tial mar­ket for us,” said Cramer.

“Brand pro­mo­tion and ex­pan­sion of the fan base in China are con­sid­ered pri­or­i­ties of fu­ture strat­egy.”

Dort­mund is part of a large sports club with more than 145,000 mem­bers, mak­ing it the sec­ond-largest club by mem­ber­ship in Ger­many.

The club has al­ready opened an of­fice in Shang­hai, which will help run more lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties to in­crease its fan base in China. Build­ing a joint soc­cer academy is a likely next step for it to strengthen its foot­print in China in the near fu­ture, Cramer said.

Other ma­jor in­ter­na­tional soc­cer clubs that have al­ready tapped into Chi­nese tal­ent and mar­kets in­clude an­other ma­jor Bun­desliga team, Bay­ern Mu­nich, which an­nounced plans to open a soc­cer train­ing academy in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince.

The FC Bay­ern Foot­ball School Shen­zhen is the Ger­man gi­ant’s sec­ond train­ing base in China.

Span­ish La Liga ti­tan Barcelona launched a soc­cer­a­cademy in Haikou, cap­i­tal of Hainan prov­ince, in Fe­bru­ary in co­op­er­a­tion with golf and tourism ser­vices provider Mis­sion Hills Group.

“Col­lab­o­ra­tion with top over­seas clubs, es­pe­cially in terms of de­vel­op­ing young play­ers, will help to pro­mote China’s soc­cer train­ing as the coun­try strives to be­come a big player in the sport,” said Xie Liang, a vet­eran soc­cer com­men­ta­tor with Ra­dio Guang­dong.

There will be 50,000 acad­e­mies and soc­cer-fo­cused schools built by 2025, ac­cord­ing to China’s soc­cer de­vel­op­ment plan.

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