The night was ending but the Hogs and Heifers bar in New York City remained hopping. Scantily-clad waitresses climbed on the bars, danced, and shouted via megaphone. Amid the bustle at the popular nightspot stood Juan Bernat, a top Spanish player newly acquired by the Munich-based soccer club FC Bayern. Together with friends and colleagues from the team, he and the Bavarians danced with enthusiasm.
FC Bayern Munich was having a blast in New York, enjoying not just the nightlife; the club has opened an office at an expensive Lexington Avenue address. The team and a jet full of assistants, managers and journalists had arrived a few days before. TV star Thomas Gottschalk helped open the office Thursday. After that, the Bavarian squad traveled to the West Coast to play U.S. soccer league teams.
Such tours by elite soccer clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid aren’t unusual. But few have taken steps such as FC Bayern Munich. Only FC Liverpool and AS Rome, which both have American investors, keep permanent U.S. offices in Boston. “Deep-pocketed Bayern Munich is open for business in U.S,” the New York Times headline said.
When Franz Beckenbauer joined the New York Cosmos in 1977, some observers said soccer was on the brink of a breakthrough in a country where baseball and football dominated. Such predictions were premature.