Last week, Bayern Munich’s club president Uli Hoeness vetoed the motion for Bayern Munich to establish a new digital sports department, per reports by both tz and az.
According to Hoeness, e-sports do not fit the image and profile of Bayern Munich, despite how successful the club’s first ever HackDays were back in January. Competitive gaming, though, is quite different than the digitized components that were focused on during the HackDays to create a more engaging, interactive experience for Bayern fans.
Towards the end of the 2015/2016 campaign, Bayern had flirted with the ides of starting a competitive gaming departmet and even partnered with EA Sports as their official video game sponsor. At the time, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge seemed quite excited by the prospect of having the partnership, believing that it would be good for global outreach among their fan bases:
We realize gaming is a powerful tool for reaching millions of engaged fans around the world. We also know the size of the gaming community continues to rise. Therefore our partnership with EA Sports is a very important step for our future. Two leading global brands partnering ultimately brings tremendous value to our fans in Germany, the U.S., and worldwide.
While Hoeness’s standpoint is understandable, his veto could prove to be an incredible missed opportunity in terms of marketing and outreach; especially for a fast-growing brand like Bayern. Other Bundesliga clubs have already hopped on board with eSports departments; RB Leipzig, Vfl Wolfsburg, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, Vfb Stuttgart, and FC Nuremberg have all tapped in to the competitive gaming scene.
Bayern’s absence from such a lucrative market might not take a noticeable toll on the overall brand itself, but it’s still an opportunity that, on the surface, seems like it would’ve been worthwhile for the record German champions.