When FC Bayern München hosts TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Friday, August 24, for the kick-off of the 2018-19 Bundesliga season, the Bavarian club will undergo two pressure tests at a time: Will the reigning German football champion be able to repeat their successful 2017-18 campaign and keep their momentum on the pitch going? And just as important: Will their thrilling new digital initiative – that is just as ambitious as it is inspired – be off to a soaring start?
The newly launched “FCB Digital & Media Lab GmbH” is the Bundesliga record champion’s multimedia subsidiary, and it’s designed to set new standards in the pooling and trunking of all digital products and services, bundling areas as diverse as IT and technology, digital platforms and digital innovation, digital marketing and CRM, digital activation and implementation of sponsoring and partnerships, and editorial activities across all platforms (social media, website, print, broadcasting).
Conflating said branches promises more immediate communication across these areas along with organic synergies as technological in-house knowledge keeps advancing. At the same time, grouping FCB’s diverse digital departments into one subsidiary forges a stronger digital unit that will be able to wield more strategic power within the Bayern-verse, thus marking a clear shift in prioritisation in favour of digital projects.
Stefan Mennerich, Director of Media, Digital, and Communication at FC Bayern München AG and now Managing Director at FCB Digital & Media Lab GmbH, is excited about the growth possibilities the new endeavour creates for the club’s global brand development: “Through FCB Digital & Media Lab we are looking to further extend our enormous media penetration. As a result, that will also support our internationalisation and bring in further funds in the areas of media, merchandising and sponsorship, and we can bring our team, our tradition and our brand to life worldwide to enthuse FC Bayern supporters and win new ones. We will also offer our infrastructure and our know-how as a service to third parties.”
FCB Digital & Media Lab is corollary to the pioneering digitisation initiative “FC Bayern Digital 4.0” the club started in 2016, when FC Bayern partnered up with main sponsor Deutsche Telekom and platinum sponsor SAP to establish its own data processing facility complete with corresponding IT infrastructure and a new software system. The then-newly implemented software system by SAP – that has since been adjusted to the club’s visionary goals – has replaced 52 non-compatible program systems in departments as diverse as media relations, ticketing, and bookkeeping. At the same time FCB became independent from third-party vendors in the front-end and data-processing fields, thereby building the foundation for this latest innovative endeavour.
FC Bayern München is determined to transmit the feeling that is deeply-rooted in the club’s southern German traditions and history – to fans around the world, to enthral existing supporters, to excite new ones, and to increase fan involvement across its many platforms along with its social media channels.
“Medialisation and digitisation are crucial for the future of FC Bayern,” emphasises the club’s Executive Board Chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “With the launch of a digital and media subsidiary, we want to bring together our know-how and strengths to further extend the leading role played by FC Bayern in this area.”