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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

My First Tour with Mailman

Updated: May 27, 2019

Since the age of 6, I have been a die hard Dortmund fan. My cousin and I experienced the magical Westfalenstadion for the first time at that age. Ever since that trip, I have watched every single Dortmund game either on TV or at the stadium.

When I first came to Mailman, it was an unbelievable experience to represent my home club as a German out here in China and, 4 months on, it still makes me very proud. As BVB toured China for the second time in two years, I was given the opportunity to meet and work with the club and its players in person. A dream come true.

Day 1

Departure from Shanghai Hongqiao airport: An extremely excited Mailman team met at the airport on the way to meet their idols. I’m not the only die hard Dortmund fan on the team by a long stretch. One year ago I was living and studying in Germany, another member of our team was following Dortmund around China, waiting outside their hotel just to catch a glimpse of the players. Today we were going to get to meet players we’d only ever seen on TV or at a distance in a screaming crowd.

When we arrived in Guangzhou, I instantly realised how big the club really is in China and how much the fans love the club in the same way that I do. When we arrived, about an hour before the BVB team, there were already around 500 fans in the arrival hall ready to welcome the team.

The team and I live streamed the arrival of the players on both the BVB Weibo channel and the Mailman Facebook page, this was the first time we saw the team but it was still more from a fan perspective. I was odd knowing that we would soon get to spend time with the players, an opportunity that so many of the fans at the airport would practically die for.

After the team had made it through, we hopped in our bus and arrived at the hotel about 30 seconds before the team bus. 50-100 fans were gathered outside the hotel entrance, a lot of them thought that we were part of the Dortmund team. They were all quite disillusioned when they found out we were actually part of the Mailman team, even though it’s arguably more prestigious.

After getting to our rooms and a quick break, we headed off to a series of private interviews with players that we’d organised with several of China’s biggest broadcasting networks. First up was André Schürrle, who I’ve been working with on his personal Weibo account for the last few months. I’ve chatted with him a few times online about his account but to finally meet him in person was exciting and gave me a great chance to further build a genuine relationship with him. He was extremely humble, personable and funny and made people around him relax, as though he was just a normal guy.

Following his interview with PPTV, we had an hour long session with him to work on his personal account. We put together a 30-minute live stream with André on BVB’s Weibo account. We planned for a Chinese fan to come by to interact with Schürrle as part of the live stream, it turned out that she spoke fluent German so everyone, including André, just went with the flow. She ended up hosting the whole stream, which included lots of games and activities. The live stream on BVB’s Weibo channel, raw and uncut, was absolutely loved by the fans, attracting over a million live viewers.

Next up was Mario Götze, who I entertained between two media slots. It was just the two of us sitting there chatting. I spent about 20 minutes chilling with the man who won the World Cup for Germany. WOW!! Like Schürrle, Mario was an extremely nice, relaxed guy. All of the players viewed us as part of the BVB team, rather than media, which made our job both easier and more enjoyable.

In the evening, the whole Mailman team went down to watch the open training session that BVB held for the fans, following which we had dinner with a few of the guys we deal with most from Dortmund and then crashed into bed for some well-deserved rest!

Day 2

As we were staying in the same hotel as the team, we bumped into players the whole time. A casual “Hey, how are you doing mate? Are you looking forward to the game?” to the captain came to feel quite normal. In the afternoon I went to a fan event with André which was very rewarding as we saw first hand how all of our work on his personal account had paid off. Throughout the tour, he was the most popular BVB player with the fans. At the event, the gathered fans went crazy for him, possibly a little too crazy at times.

In the evening, the whole team went to watch the match against AC Milan, which was a great experience, watching football in with all of the Chinese fans. Obviously, it was made better by the fact that BVB ran out to be 3-1 winners, much to the dismay of the AC Milan Mailman team who were also out in Guangzhou.

After the game, we went down to the VIP area where BVB’s senior marketing team presented us with a big painting of the Westfalenstadion which had been signed by all of the players on tour. I’m looking forward to walking past that familiar view in the Mailman office and being reminded of all of the experiences from this tour. I know that it’ll inspire me to always keep pushing forward and strive to be better.

Mailman is a digital sports marketing consultancy and technology company. We help global rights holders, athletes, and leagues to build a successful business in China.

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