Long envious of the ability of England’s Premier League to raise its appeal to fans around the world, Germany’s Bundesliga is ramping up its own efforts to promote German soccer among the lucrative fan, sponsor and broadcasting markets in Asia and the United States.
While English clubs competed in prime-time matches over the Christmas holidays, several German teams have used part of the traditional five-week mid-season break to train – and promote – their clubs and the Bundesliga on other continents.
Whether the Bundesliga will ever become as well known and popular around the world as the Premier League – with a head start of more than a decade in marketing itself internationally – remains to be seen. But the German clubs appear bound and determined to enter the fray to become a global brand in the multi-billion-euro soccer market.
Their enthusiasm to expand is fueled by a desire to tap into lucrative TV deals that territories around the world are prepared to pay to broadcast games from the best leagues in the world. The Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and the Premier League are considered to be the top four leagues.
This winter alone saw six Bundesliga teams travel outside Europe to places as far away as the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and the United States.