Mailman Journal: FC Bayern Munich Tours China
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Bayern Munich, one of the giants of club football, embarked on a 7-day China tour this past week and our team at Mailman was there to capture the event filled trip. The summer China tour presented by Audi, featured three friendly matches spanning China’s premier mega cities, from the capital of Beijing where they played Valencia, to the commercial hub of Shanghai against Inter Milan, and squaring off in the Guangzhou finale against the hometown squad, FC Guangzhou Evergrande.
With 400 million fans worldwide and an estimated that 90 million fans in China, Bayern Munich’s tour signifies their commitment to growing their presence in this market. Tasked with capturing short videos and images for social updates on Bundesliga’s official Weibo and WeChat as well as high quality video content for the Bundesliga channels, our team followed the German league champions across the mainland.
The journey started Friday morning at the Beijing Capital Airport where we kicked-off the tour coverage with a massive welcoming party. We estimated that there were over 800 Bayern fans gathered at the arrival floor for an enthusiastic and somewhat overwhelming welcoming to China. Fans were gathered hours in advance, singing songs and chanting, dressed head to toe in Bayern gear. Our team quickly captured some of the best scenes including fan interviews and short videos of the players arriving.
As is the German way, the organization was impeccable, with a down to the hour detailed schedule of media events aimed to satisfy team trainings, sponsor events, and of course fan engagement. For the first day, our crew covered the press conference and the semi-public training where the fans got their first glimpse of the team in action.
The second day included several amazing media opportunities. We conducted one-on-one interviews with Brazilian star and new addition Douglas Costa as well as the young standout, Joshua Kimmich. After some light questions to get the ball rolling, we introduced the “China Quiz” to test players’ knowledge. Meanwhile, in another event room of the hotel, Thomas Müeller and Philipp Lahm were featured in some friendly ping pong matches, sponsored by Tencent, against China’s most famous players, including world number one, Wang Hao as well as Ding Ning, the current the world champion female player.
Of course the day was highlighted by the Audi Football Summit Beijing, against six time Spanish Champion FC Valencia in the “Bird‘s Nest”, the iconic stadium built for the 2008 Olympics. The fans were going crazy from start to finish and there was even a marriage proposal in the fan section. Our crew quickly jumped in for an interview with the newly engaged couple at halftime. Bayern went on to a convincing 4-1 victory for an ideal start to their China tour.
At the halfway point of our trip, we made our way back to our hometown of Shanghai. We were able to relax a bit more on familiar ground while still actively covering the team and player appearances. Besides travel that included 4 hour delay for the team flight, Sunday brought another press conference and training session. But the best action came the following day.
Monday was the the highlight for me during the tour. As a welcome treat for the players to get away from hotel and city, we spent the afternoon riding golf carts and walking the fairways of the She Shan Golf Club. Stars Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müeller, Sven Ulreich, Sebastian Rode as well as Coach Guardiola were all in attendance for the event. After some ceremonial autograph signing and picture taking, we hit the links. Among the golfers, it was clear that Lahm and Müeller had the best swings and were clearly the most experienced. Pep seemed to have both, but struggled at times, to the delight of the players and staff.
On the other side of town, the action kicked into high gear as Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, David Alaba and Douglas Costa visited Shanghai Formula 1 race track for some fast paced fun. Players took turns racing the super cars and we were there to record the sheer excitement exuded by the players and fans.
The following day included another round of one-on-one interviews that were extremely entertaining. Jérôme Boateng and Lewandowski both provided funny responses and genuinely enjoyed the experience. And we even were surprised when Mario Gotze appeared for some impromptu Tai Chi!
The second game of the tour that evening was a good one, as Bayern faced off against 18 time Italian Champion Inter Milan. This was a repeat of the Champions League final opponents of 2010 for the right to claim the 2015 Audi Football Summit Shanghai title. This time Bayern won a hard fought battle 1-0.
On Wednesday, Bayern landed in Guangzhou to a smaller yet still passionate crowd of supporters. That evening Müeller and Nuer were featured in an unique, fan focused VIP experience on a river boat cruise, presented by Adidas. While boat was decked out with Adidas kits and gear, the evening was well coordinated with fun-filled events for the fans. The first was a fan surprise gimmick, where unsuspecting fans were shocked by Nuer and Mueller jumping out of a hidden room as the cameras flashed capturing their awe and delight. The attendees were then ushered to the top of the boat where a makeshift field was constructed for a friendly 2 x 2 match. Local fans messed around with the football stars as there were plenty of selfies, banter, and of course a little football. The fan groups were ecstatic as the the game was followed by a generous autograph session.
The final leg of the Summer Tour was a hot and humid affair, as Bayern was matched against the 2013 Asian Champions League victors and the current Chinese title champions of the last four years, FC Guangzhou Evergrande. This game proved to be the most difficult, as a 0-0 draw led to a penalty kick shootout, where Guangzhou won 5-4 to claim the 2015 Volkswagen Cup Guangzhou. Goalkeeper Zeng Cheng’s save on Müeller’s PK to start the shootout, was Bayern’s only blemish and the deciding factor in the end.
This China tour was the second visit for Bayern to the People’s Republic since first coming in 2012. According to our 2015 Red Card Report, Bayern is one of the top 3 European clubs for overall digital presence and is the most engaged club in China. After further strengthening their digital footprint with the opening of their Tmall store this past year and recently launching their Chinese language website, this trip could solidify a higher ranking in next year’s report.
What an unforgettable experience for our Bundesliga team and one of the many incredible opportunities that comes with working at Mailman. Until next time, Super-Bayern! Super-Bayern! Hey! Hey!