15 January 2019 – The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga has announced a comprehensive, long-term strategy aimed at increasing engagement with China to be delivered by its new representative office in Beijing, opening in March 2019.
The DFL subsidiary Bundesliga International will play a key role in building on the positive relationship between German and Chinese football following a knowledge sharing agreement established in 2016 by German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, China’s President Xi Jinping and footballing authorities from both nations.
The DFL’s China office is the latest addition to the league’s global network, supplementing others operating in Singapore (Asia) and New York (Americas), plus its strategic partnership with IMG Reliance in India.
The office will be headed by Patrick Stueber, Senior Audio Visual Rights Manager at Bundesliga International, who has been with the DFL group since 2007. Stueber has been integral to the development of a wide-ranging marketing strategy designed to build on the league’s large following in the country, which has been steadily growing since the 1990’s thanks to regular coverage of the league by long-term supporter CCTV.
The China office will work closely with Bundesliga media partner PP Sports, making use of their video and content expertise as well as leveraging the market influence of their parent company, Suning Commerce Group. Additional marketing activity will also be delivered through localised digital campaigns, building on the strong online footprint. Outside of Germany, China is one of the most engaged Bundesliga fanbases, evident both in numbers, with over 2.6 million Weibo users following the league, and the fact it was crowned Europe’s number one football league in Chinese online media for the fourth year in a row at Mailman’s Red Card Awards.
Former Chinese icon Jiayi Shao is just one of the Bundesliga legends who will undertake activities focused on engaging Chinese fans over the coming months. Clubs will also play a central role in on-ground activities. Many already have a presence including FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Speaking about China, Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein said: “Through the opening of our office and implementation of a long-term strategic plan, we will continue to build on our deep connections with China and its fans who we know are passionate about the Bundesliga.”
He continued: “Since 2016, we have been working closely with the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) and our clubs to aid the development of the game in this ambitious nation. Through the leadership and experience of Patrick Stueber, use of business intelligence and increasing on-ground activities, we will further increase impact by showcasing the qualities of the Bundesliga – football as it’s meant to be.”