Making the fubball bundesliga better known around the world – at least at werder bremen, that was expected to be a little easier these days. When the team landed in south africa for its ten-day training camp, there was only one fan in a grun-weiben jersey at the airport.
And when the bremen team plays against two teams from the top sudafrican league, no spectators are allowed in the stadium and no live TV broadcasts are allowed, so as not to draw attention away from the local league.
But the sudafrican soccer fan didn’t miss much, at least at werder’s first appearance last sunday. Because the game against the kaizer chiefs in the huge world cup arena in johannesburg had to be abandoned after just 50 minutes due to a thunderstorm. "A pity. We are powerless there," said supervisory board chairman marco bode.
The question is: what’s the point?? Why not just stay in bremen or fly a good three hours to spain to prepare for the second half of the bundesliga season with much less stress?? One answer to this is: because the german fubball league is so keen on such trips – apart from the current difficulties in bremen. Because they really wanted the clubs to fly to the other side of the world to promote themselves and the league as a whole, to attract new sponsors or to maintain existing ones.
That’s why this winter not only werder flew to sud africa, but also eintracht frankfurt to florida and FC bayern again to qatar. That’s why schalke 04 was in china in the summer and eintracht was in the USA once before.
"Everywhere in the world, the english premier league is usually one or two steps ahead of us," former national player bode said in south africa. "This is one reason why we are here. The league has recognized sudafrica and some other countries as potential countries for the bundesliga and we are happy to support that."
Unlike eintracht frankfurt and bayern munchen, the bremen team’s long-distance trip is directly supported by the DFL. The "weser kurier" has already broken down the cost-benefit calculation in detail: werder itself is only paying about as much for this training camp as the club would have had to spend for a ten-day trip to spain. Additional costs covered by DFL subsidy. The club undertakes to make itself available to the sudafrican media partners of the german fubball league.
South africa, the u.S. Or japan: everywhere the DFL has signed contracts with media subcontractors. German professional soccer generates around 280 million euros per season with its foreign marketing activities.
The demand for foreign activities of the clubs of the bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga has existed since 2013/14. Since then, 76 club activities in north and south america, europe, asia and africa have been financially supported, including the current season, according to DFL figures. The basis for the foreign claim is the so-called "ratecard" – an evaluation system for subsidizing the clubs.
But the long-distance travel of the bundesliga clubs also has its downsides. FC bayern is criticized every year because its training camps in qatar supposedly support a country that organizations like amnesty international still accuse of violating human and labor rights. The bavarians always point to the excellent weather and training conditions in the host country of the 2022 world cup, and CEO karl-heinz rummenigge said this time: "the UN human rights organization, international trade unions and ngos today attest that qatar has responded to public criticism and implemented changes."
The same criticism of throwing moral considerations overboard for the sake of a good performance has also been levelled at eintracht frankfurt time and again. The club has held six training camps in abu dhabi in recent years. In the meantime, the focus of the much-vaunted "internationalization" has shifted to the U.S. The goal is always the same: "we want to make the eintracht frankfurt brand even better known. That can only be achieved with sustainability," said sporting director fredi bobic.
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