Bayern set sights on China expansion
Bayern Munich executive Jorg Wacker has told the Wall Street journal the Bundesliga champions will focus their attention on China following their successful summer tour of the U.S.
Wacker, 46, was appointed as Bayern executive in 2013 and oversees the club's plans to expand their brand into other countries.
Bayern opened their first international branch in New York last month during their tour of the States, which included matches against Chivas Guadalajara in New Jersey and the MLS All-Stars in Portland.
"We can offer a positive summary. The nine days in the U.S. were a complete success. Fans queued for 100 metres to get autographs, and the feedback in the U.S. media was very impressive," Wacker said.
"Some 5,000 fans showed up for our training session in Portland alone, and both matches were sold out."
While the Bundesliga champions toured the U.S. on their own, other leading European clubs including Inter Milan, AS Roma, Liverpool, Manchester City and AC Milan played in the International Champions Cup in the U.S.
The clash between Real Madrid and Manchester United in Ann Arbor drew a record crowd for a soccer match in the U.S. of 109,000.
Wacker said: "109,000 people in one stadium is a fantastic backdrop. But what is really interesting is the viewing figures -- and we had 1.5 million for the All-Star game, more than twice the number of people watching Real versus Manchester United.
"Moreover, our match was broadcast live in 130 countries. Those are the numbers that matter, and they speak for us."
He said the club, backed by partners including Audi and Adidas would take "sustainable" steps into both the U.S. and China.
"For 2015, Asia is on our plan," he added. "We will follow the U.S. as our focus market from Munich now, but relatively quickly put our focus on China. We plan to tour there, but I can't go into details right now."
Wacker said he believed the Bundesliga was still underrated in the U.S. but that a new TV deal with Fox, beginning in the 2015-2016 season, would create increased interest.
"Fox are now set to cover one or two live games every weekend, and I'd like to think that FC Bayern will frequently be part of that -- as the engine, so to speak. This will give us another big push," he explained.