A keen eye for innovation does not mean just the willingness to advance technological innovation – but also the ability to make far-sighted decisions at the right time and to lay the foundations for future success in a wide range of other areas. This is also true of internationalisation: The DFL took the next key step in this regard in October, opening its representative office for the Americas in New York. The DFL’s first office in the Americas is expected to enable even closer links between the Bundesliga and the local markets, facilitate contact with media and marketing partners and support Bundesliga clubs’ activities in the region.
“The USA is the biggest and most important sport and media market in the world,” said DFL CEO Christian Seifert: “In light of this, it is only logical that the DFL strengthens its representation here in the interests of our long-term growth perspectives. The aim is to further increase the visibility and appeal of the Bundesliga and its clubs. This applies in particular to the USA and Latin America.”
In the United States, football is still mainly watched on television – 87 per cent of those interested watch football in this classic way. Football is already the second-most popular sport among the 18-to-34 demographic. With its digital channels, the Bundesliga achieved 100 per cent growth throughout the Americas as a whole in the 2017–18 season. As a country, the US ranks second in the number of visitors to the Bundesliga website – only Germany can boast more users on the website.
Lothar Matthäus, Germany’s most-capped player and a member of the DFL’s “Bundesliga Legends Network” is delighted by the new office: “The DFL has picked the ideal time and location to expand, New York is the perfect match. My time in the MLS taught me a lot, including the value of being close to the local supporters. Today, we recognize that local fans appreciate the Bundesliga’s long tradition of developing young, talented players from the American continent and love watching them evolve – in the past until today.”
This summer, clubs like Borussia Dortmund, FC Bayern München, Eintracht Frankfurt and FC St. Pauli have travelled to training camps in the United States. These trips are part of their increasing internationalisation efforts. “People in the US are fundamentally passionate about sports, and they respect the fact that many Bundesliga clubs regularly tour the States – not just to train and play test matches but also to keep in touch with their fans,” said Steven Cherundolo, who has played for the US national squad 87 times and is also a member of the “Bundesliga Legends Network”.
After Singapore (since 2012), New York is the DFL’s second international representative office and is likewise the responsibility of the DFL’s subsidiary Bundesliga International (BLI). The new “Home of Bundesliga” will be managed by Arne Rees as the Executive Vice President of Strategy, in charge of media contracts, and Melanie Fitzgerald as the Head of Bundesliga Americas, in charge of brand management, marketing and events.