Bayern Munich to open office in New York

Smoke from flares lit by Bayern Munich fans floats up the Wembley roof and lights

Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Bayern Munich are coming to the United States, and not just for this summer’s MLS All-Star Game.

Bayern announced on Tuesday that they will open their first overseas subsidiary, FC Bayern Muenchen LLC, on April 1 in New York. The German heavyweights will have a three-person staff in a Manhattan office, and they will be tasked with growing the club’s brand and establishing connections.

Rudolf Vidal, 42, has been appointed managing director of the new company. Vidal was born in Colorado, and was a goalkeeper in the Bayern youth section and reserve teams from 1982-1989 before becoming an attorney and working in sports and marketing.

“I’m delighted to be taking on this substantial and exciting assignment on behalf of FC Bayern,“ Vidal told the club’s site. “Together with my co-workers we will tackle the tasks assigned to us rapidly and with great determination. We want to help in consolidating and continuing to develop the club’s international reputation.“

Bayern Munich are set for a visit to the U.S. in late-July, early-August. They will wrap up their American trip with an appearance in the annual MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 6 in Portland, Ore.

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What do you think of Bayern Munich opening up a U.S.-based office? Intrigued by their strategy? Crossing your fingers and toes for Julian Green to be one of the other two members on Vidal’s staff?

Share your thoughts below.

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46 Responses to Bayern Munich to open office in New York

  1. A.S.A. says:

    Funny how soccer(futbol) is seen as such a great revenue source, great market and great potential in the states by everyone associated with it BUT FIFA. There are even mini-tourneys going on here before the World Cup.Heck top clubs see the potential. Like everyone is having friendlies here before the World Cup but yet nope Qatar seems like a good choice. I guess we just didn’t bribe FIFA with enough oil money.

    • Tyler says:

      I think FIFA definitely recognizes the value of soccer here in the US. But we’re not the only place with deep pockets so they want to cash in globally. Secondarily, I daresay it’s a foregone conclusion that we lost 2026 because we didn’t bribe them.

      • Reid says:

        The US can make FIFA a lot of money having the CW here but we aren’t going to make any voting members a ton of money because we won’t give any kickbacks. So they side with countries that have no problem giving kick backs, or even countries where its encouraged.

        • AcidBurn says:

          The US has a little law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Somehow I don’t think Russia or Qatar have those.

        • Duneman says:

          Besides the under the cover cash in bags….I always thought the very public part of the plan with the stadiums seemed like bribery.
          In the bid they admitted that they would make the stadiums and have no use for any of them but maybe one…so they would design and build them so they could be taken apart, shipped, and setup easily someplace else. They would provide these stadiums to FIFA nations which were poor and needed a new national stadium of their own to help “grow the game”….oh…and how would you describe many of the countries which voted for Qutar? The great thing is they could have 5 stadiums and need 10 votes and just tell each of the 10 if they promise to vote the guy will make sure they are going to be one of those 5 countries picked to get a new stadium. They would not even have to build 1 stadium for 1 vote…they can just tell each country voting that they will 100% be one of those countries …..heck…tell them they will even get to pick the one they want. I just never got how “we might not say who….but some people in this room will get free stadiums if you pick us….if you pick they USA…any profits from the games will just go back into the proper FIFA accounts following public accounting rules.” was seen as on the up and up.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Which leads one to question whether some of these decisions are made in the overall interest/profit/health of FIFA, or in the individuals involved.

      Ok… actually I don’t really question that at all.

  2. JayAre says:

    I’m starting to think MLS might need a new commissioner or USSOCCER needs a complete over haul. I don’t see how we (MLS & USSOCCER) aren’t cashing in on soccer in this country and everyone else is doing it.

    • Tyler says:

      They’re taking advantage of the fact that an overwhelming majority of US will support soccer but our consumers view their own domestic product as substandard. If we invite Europeans in and lay a down a red carpet paved with cash they certainly won’t reject our overtures ha.

    • Yusef says:

      It’s the product. NBA more popular in other basketball-playing countries than their own domestic leagues. The world is shrinking and people want the best product.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      JayAre,

      You don’t live in the US, and probably not on this planet.

      What are you talking about ? Forbes had the Sounders valued at $170 (?) million.
      They started that franchise for a $30-40mm fee…5 years ago.

      …sorry I don’t have specifics, don’t care to look it up and $10 million either way isn’t going to affect/prove your rediculous comment.

    • Luis Esco says:

      If it was so easy, it would have been done already and the USMNT would have been a world class soccer nation years ago. Getting the MLS and American soccer this far is crazy. Was unimaginable just a few years back.

    • Mike R says:

      Because those clubs offer high level technical soccer and MLS doesn’t.

      Hack a man soccer featuring players with limited technical ability just doesn’t sell as well

    • DWE4 says:

      It’s all about ROI (return on investment). It’s much less expensive for Bayern Munich to lease office space in New York and hire 3 people to start a marketing/branding effort than it is for MLS to set up shop in a new city, build a stadium, hire a staff, train a team, and put the product on the field.

      I think it’s a great sign for the sport overall in the US that Bayern thinks it’s an investment worth making. The missions are completely different, however. Bayern’s NYC-based team has to create enough brand awareness across the ENTIRE USA–some of which is generated for free in the US sports media by the team’s on-field successes in Europe–to cover its costs. Each MLS team (and the league, in general), has to create brand awareness, sell eyes-on-screens, and tickets sold, to break through local and national sports media clutter to generate much higher revenues that have to be re-invested into the businesses to fuel additional growth (and brand awareness).

  3. Larry says:

    FWIW, I recall reading that the 1994 World Cup in the US generated more income for FIFA than any WC before or since. FIFA knows full well how much can be earned by full stadiums in the US. FIFA sold its soul to Qatar for other reasons. Or, the income is going to be much greater than we know about.

    • Joe+G says:

      As a minimum, it had the highest attendance of any WC before or since, and that was with a 24 team tournament.

      • a says:

        hows that possible? Were people really that excited back in 94 for the tournament or was it a fleeting thing?

        • Luis Esco says:

          People go out for big tournaments/parties. Plus the fact that this country is built on immigrants and many still have some allegiance to their ancestors’ countries from South America, Europe, Asia and Africa

        • TDO says:

          Yes they were. My guess is they sold out almost 98% of the seats. It was very well organized. Weather– specifically heat– was probably the biggest issue.

    • away goals says:

      I don’t get this argument. So we’re indignant that fifa sold their soul for qatari money instead of, what, selling their soul for american dollars?

      The stated reason for choosing qatar is to spread the game to the middle east. The fact that the us has better infrastructure and profit-generating potential is immaterial. If that’s all that mattered why not just hold the tournament in the us every four years?

  4. Ted says:

    COLONIZATION!

  5. a says:

    will they hire Americans or just Germans?

    will we see a Munich USA club operating out of St. Louis in 10 years?

  6. a says:

    is the USA really a potential moneymaker for FIFA/UEFA/foreign clubs?

    I see more and more NT having games in the USA.

    will this pay off for growing soccer in America? or will this further annoy non-soccer fans that foreigners coming over? Or will this open up non-soccer fans to the beauty of soccer and them just preferring to watch Bayern Munich rather than DC United?

    • Joe+G says:

      It will be a moneymaker until the novelty wears off. If the teams come too often and expect Americans to pay big money to watch the reserve squad play an exhibition, then Americans will lose interest. But the foreign NTs playing matches in the US will continue, again as long as they don’t go to the well too often (only Mexico can get away with that & even some of their matches haven’t drawn that well).

      This year, the US has all the pre-WC friendlies, plus the ICC tour, plus the Copa Centroamericana will be played in the US in the fall and so one-off pro and NT friendlies (and even some women’s matches from visiting teams). There is demand, but it is somewhat scattered. Some are fans of certain pro teams that visit; some are fans (or citizens) of NTs; some are out just for a night of high end soccer. Would be great to translate that to MLS (and to a lesser degree to the US NTs).

      • quozzel says:

        I think it’s an idea with a very short half-life, myself.

        MLS is growing by leaps and bounds. People who can’t see the straight-upwards-arrow trajectory of MLS have the memories of a dayfly.

        People forget that the Bundesliga has nothing like the history of the EPL, or Serie A. It grew, much like MLS did, with the concept of balanced budgets, don’t spend more than you make, and by building grassroots support…but as recently as Jurgen Klinsmann’s time German soccer was considered stodgy, boring, and second-or-third tier by the standards of the “top” leagues. Now the Bundesliga is a monster league, one of the “Big 4″ in Europe…but it was financial clout and good management that built the Bundesliga, not tradition. It’s only been in the last decade the Bundesliga has truly emerged as a “top” destination league and a major contender for Champions League titles.

        It’s not going to take MLS long to match that, not at its current trajectory, not with the kind of financial muscle America can throw at something when there’s interest…and interest in MLS is growing geometrically, to the point every major sports owner now is starting to make noises about acquiring an MLS franchise.

        That being so, the American upswing in European-team branding is a reflection of the American soccer enthusiast’s desire for “top” soccer…when MLS can deliver it, interest in the European brands will take a significant tumble.

        Be genuinely curious to see what happens to Euro clubs when MLS teams finally start going to things like the Club World Cup and winning the CONCACAF Champions league, and when the USMNT finally does something beyond make it out of group at the World Cup. When the US starts doing something well, people get behind it.

        At that point, Bayern ain’t gonna be selling too many jerseys here anymore….

        • Increase0 says:

          I read what you said. It was good.

        • Deutschbag says:

          Yeah, sorta

          But German clubs are, for the most part, as old as any other countries clubs. In the pre-Bund days the league was a regional system. Bayern, Dortmund, HSV, and Schalke were all present.

          But yeah, the massive “RESET” in the 60s with the creation of the Bundesliga was a model of sound planning that we could learn a lot from.

  7. RP says:

    It would sure help give them something to do if one of the players on their books was a USMNT player.

  8. malkin says:

    “Crossing your fingers and toes for Julian Green to be one of the other two members on Vidal’s staff?”

    Ummm, no, absolutely not. I want Julian Green playing soccer on the pitch for Bayern Munich’s first team, not retiring from the game and becoming a marketing guy.

  9. Mulde and Scully says:

    April 1st? Eh?

  10. user222 says:

    “…will open their first overseas subsidiary FC Bayern Muenchen LLC, on April 1 in New York. ”

    is this April’s fool?

  11. milbo says:

    Just imagine if Soccer in this country didn’t have to bear the years of indifference by the previous generations who naively believed it to be the sport of Immigrants and Commies or worse.

    • Adi from Oregon says:

      Plus another indifference was/is the US love for violence in their main sport of football as well in ice hockey (with fist fights during the match) and boxing versus a no-macho sport like soccer!

  12. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Soccer has been ignored by this country too long. The SF Chronicle still hasn’t quite caught on. But soccer is going to take over this country. Julian Green in the NY office? I can’t see that.

  13. bbstl says:

    Hmm. What are the chances that Bayern Munich buys Chivas USA?

    • Lars says:

      My thoughts exactly. Bayern Munich USA will show up in MLS soon enough. These farm club/sponsored team identity franchises make Garber very excited.

  14. Mueller says:

    WTF? That’s disrespectful. As if we don’t have a league in this county and a team in New York.
    You don’t see th opening an office in Mexico City.

  15. MikeG says:

    I would like to see much more technical and tactical approach to the game in the USA. I really enjoy MLS right now. Portland is playing the most technical and tactical soccer right now. Real Salt Lake has/had a very simple system too that worked with the players they have. MLS needs more coaches be it American, South America, or European who bring a more technical and tactical approach to the game. More #10 playmaker types (Ozil), more passing from the middle into the penalty area (less crossing), more players into the penalty area looking to make something happen, high pressure defense upon losing the ball, midfield and forwards playing more compact on defense and offense (moving left, right, north, and south as a unit. Look at Bayern Munich.

  16. ice says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  17. Stefan Drewes says:

    Bayern doesn’t even have to hire me, I would be happy to volunteer in their Denver branch.