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Marketing & Communication

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LeverkusenThe number of women attending matches at Bayer Leverkusen it is the highest of the whole Germany, and not just for the BayArena heating systems. "From the 2006 World Cup, football has also become popular among girls and women," he says Meinolf Sprink, Head of Marketing and Communications at Bayer Leverkusen, which is firmly convinced that the future of football is female.

Leverkusen's decision to found a women's team played a key role for the city, which was chosen together with eight others to host the FIFA 2011 Women's World Championship in Germany. For this team a six-figure sum is invested each year by the German club, although, says Sprink "at some point this project will have to become self-sufficient".

Bayer Leverkusen, but also Hamburg, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg are examples of German clubs that can boast a women's section. "I think it is useful that there is already a pre-existing structure to imitate and learn from, also in terms of training," says the German trainer Silvia Neid.

The foundation of the Bayern women's team dates back to the 1970. The sponsors of men and women are the same, and the women's contracts are personally signed by the club's board of directors. Among the fans of the team we can count the legends Gerd Muller and Karl-Heinz Rumenigge, who appreciate the improvements of the female team, especially from the point of view of the youth sector. The girls of Bayern can also enjoy some small luxury, being the only Bundesliga team to travel by air for the transfers.

Almost all the Bundesliga clubs have a women's sector. "The companies realized that this is a very interesting area to develop," says Rumenigge. "But the involvement of existing structures is essential." Not even the economic side of the situation should be underestimated, even if it must be said that women's salaries are not yet comparable to those of men.

Not only in Germany, but also throughout Europe, women's football is gaining importance and fascination. Among the most successful teams are the Arsenal Ladies in England and Olympique Lyon in France. The British company, in particular, is one of the best examples of collaboration between the male and female teams. Even the two coaches work together.

Even in France women are very represented: among the most important clubs there are also Montpellier, Paris Saint-Germain and Toulouse. Lyon have reached the Champions League final in the 2009 / 2010, which is still very difficult for male colleagues. Unfortunately for them, however, they were beaten on penalties by the Turbine of Potsdam, a team created exclusively for women.

Other cases of this kind are FFC Frankfurt and the FCR Duigsburg champions.

But then, is it an advantage or not to be affiliated with a men's club? "There are no fixed rules," says Tatjana Haenni, President of Women's FIFA. "Every country, every region and every society must find its own way." Surely we need practical and economic support. Maybe starting from stadium heating, as in the case of Leverkusen ...

Translated by Chiara Paganini for
News 2011 Journal Germany 2011

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doris_fitschen"No, when I started in 2001 it was not easy at all," he says Doris Fitschen. The former national of Germany, who recently left her position as Marketing Manager in the local committee for the organization of the FIFA FIFA World Cup 2011 to become team manager of the German National team, if she intends to market, even if she herself admits some difficulties at the beginning there was. "What exactly is there for women's football to be launched on the market?" This was a question that he often had to deal with.

Thank God, the situation has since improved. The triumph of female Germany at the 2003 World Cup has not only helped to increase awareness and acceptance of women's football in general, but has also amplified the marketability of this sport in the world. All of a sudden, hundreds of doors opened when people began to contemplate the potential of the female side of the game.

Fitschen has accumulated a lot of her experience during the negotiations with the business world, coming to understand the philosophy behind the scenes of the companies, and the most complicated aspects of the market. And it was not a problem that the leaders in question were men: the important thing was that at the helm there were people who understood football.

"Football, women, and the positive emotions that come from this sport contribute to creating a very interesting product," explains Fitschen. Anyone who regularly attends the women's world championships can only agree. The popularity of women's football depends on the quality of the event, and the involvement of girls and women is the key to its success. That said, the road to be followed in terms of marketing for women in the Bundesliga is still long.

One of the main concerns is the lack of media coverage. Televisions rarely venture beyond the national women's games. Fitschen hopes that the FIFA 2011 Women's World Cup "will lead to a growing interest from the press and the media". In this way, the importance of women's football in the market could also grow, bringing new funding.

After winning the world championship twice, in the 2003 and 2007, the German women's team aims to defend their title on the home ground in the 2011. To ensure that women's football continues to thrive, we need to offer a great product, says the former national, one of the most titled players of the last period, and is convinced: "A great product is just what we have."

article translated by Chiara Paganini
News 2011 Journal Germany 2011

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