The Bundesliga may have had to temporarily suspend on-field action but that hasn’t meant everything else surrounding the league has ground to a halt, too. Far from it, in fact.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen sporting fixtures postponed all around the world in a bid to combat the spread of the virus.
But while play on the pitch may have stopped, it is the opposite when it comes to fan engagement. With many supporters stuck at home and looking to be kept informed and entertained about their favourite football league, Bundesliga staff have stepped up to the mark by keeping the content flowing on the league’s various social media channels. Communicating regularly and maintaining a connection with fans have both been hugely important during this difficult period.
Delving into the archives for old footage, as well as deploying content harvested during media days and from the International Product Portfolio (IPP), have helped the Bundesliga post huge engagement numbers since the start of lockdown – and all delivered from the safety of employees’ own homes.
The statistics are impressive. The number of fans visiting the Bundesliga’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages was up by almost a fifth (18 %) during March compared to the same month in 2019. Engagement on those channels – likes, comments, shares, retweets etc – was also up by 17 %.
Meanwhile, video views experienced an increase, rising by 61 % year on year. Given this all took place in a month where only one matchday of play was possible (apart from the postponed and then rearranged match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln) then the figures are even more remarkable.
With April set to show a similar spike in numbers and the league having recently smashed through the total of 21 million fans using all social media channels, it confirms that Bundesliga supporters are among the most brand loyal in the world.
Now that virtual has become the new reality, DFL created habitual content viewing by broadcasting classic derbies and great Klassikers like Dortmund v Bayern from 2011/12 on YouTube and Facebook.One of the most popular pieces of recent content has been the Bundesliga Home Challenge in which players from 30 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs teamed up with an esports representative for a FIFA 20 by EA Sports online tournament on the PlayStation 4.
Just under 10 million spectators tuned in to watch the virtual action either through the Bundesliga’s own channels or via partner channels over four match days and 58 ties.
The concept was quickly pulled together by as well as club and media partners, and proved a ratings winner on social media, too. More than 1.6 million people watched live streams of matches on the Bundesliga’s Twitter account.
This isn’t the only creative success story. The Players Spelling Challenge – originally produced during the media days – drew more than 850,000 views on YouTube, while more than half a million people (524,000 to be exact) logged on to Facebook to watch the afore-mentioned ‘Klassiker’ between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München in season 2011/12. Match highlight packages and the video challenge between players Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller have also gone down a storm on Instagram and Twitter.
These have been extremely challenging times for everyone but the Bundesliga has still been able to engage and connect with fans in massive numbers.