Bundesliga to boost commitment to Chinese market

The Bundesliga International arm of the top division of German club football has revealed further plans to tap into the Chinese market through the launch of a long-term development strategy and the opening of a new office in Beijing.

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 Angela Merkel, China’s president Xi Jinping and footballing authorities from both nations.

Bundesliga International’s China office, to open in March, 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 the IMG Reliance agency in India.

The office will be headed by Patrick Stueber, senior audio visual rights manager at Bundesliga International, who has been with the German Football League (DFL) group since 2007. Stueber has played a key role in 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 1990s thanks to regular coverage of the league by long-term supporter, state broadcaster CCTV.

The China office will work closely with Bundesliga media partner PP Sports, making use of its video and content expertise as well as leveraging the market influence of its parent company, Suning Commerce Group.

Additional marketing activity will also be delivered through localised digital campaigns. Outside of Germany, China is one of the most-engaged Bundesliga fanbases, with over 2.6 million Weibo users following the league via the social network. This will be further enhanced on Friday as the Bundesliga launches its presence on Toutiao, one of China’s largest mobile platforms for content creation, aggregation and distribution.

Former Chinese international Jiayi Shao is one of a number of 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 in China including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt, Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg.

Bundesliga International chief executive Robert Klein said: “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.”