• Loading stock data...
Saturday, June 15, 2024

FC Bayern Munich: Leading the Way in Sports Innovation

The team has had a massive year off the pitch and are looking to carry the momentum over to 2018.

Photo via @FCBayernMunich

As the worlds of sport and technology continue to merge, teams either need to adapt or risk falling behind. FC Bayern Munich understands that and has been leading the way in integrating technology into its strategy both on and off the field. Its proactive approach to innovation this past year has resulted in its nomination as one of SportTechie’s Most Innovative Sports Teams.

The club made a splash in the first half of 2017 by announcing the participating teams of the annual Audi Cup in a hologram press conference.

Using cutting edge technology leveraged through its partnership with Audi, the club hosted a press conference that transported Liverpool FC coach Jurgen Klopp and Atlético Madrid’s Diego Simeone to Munich via hologram. The press conference, which resembled something a science fiction movie, was the first of its kind in the soccer world.

Photo via @FCBayernMunich

As the year continued, Bayern remained at the forefront of innovation, focusing on improving the fan experience through creative partnerships and digital developments.

In May, the club announced it was teaming up with Tenor, the largest and fastest-growing mobile GIF-sharing platform, to make it easier for fans around the world to share their reactions to games and team news through GIFs.

“In today’s fast-paced, global world, it’s important that we empower fans to celebrate and share FC Bayern Munich across media and technology platforms when and where they want,” says Stefan Mennerich, Bayern’s Director of Media, Digital and Communication, “These GIFs bring to life the team’s most brilliant moments both on and off the pitch. Tenor is uniquely suited to drive usage of this content, leveraging its powerful matching engine and huge scale.”

Through Tenor, whose partnership with Bayern was its first with a sports club, Bayern enabled fans to creatively celebrate and engage with their team. This continued to be a theme throughout the year.

This fall, capitalizing on the growth of augmented reality (AR) technology, Bayern launched its first-ever AR fan experience, housed within the FC Bayern Munich app. The feature, available on the club’s iOS app, allows fans to insert lifelike images of captain Manuel Neuer or forward Arjen Robben into the real world using their mobile device’s camera.

The launch of the AR feature led to a surge in app downloads with new users increasing by 600% in the first week, a striking number taking into account the fact that iOS users account for approximately 40% of overall app usage and the feature is available solely on devices with iOS11 and newer Apple devices.

Following the launch of the feature, fans around the world took to social media using the hashtag #FCBayARn to share their photos with Neuer and Robben.

The club itself has made moves to advance its internal technological capabilities, announcing a partnership earlier this year with Siemens to develop software and cloud-based services aimed at improving safety and security technologies. The three-year partnership will have impacts on the field as Siemens Healthineers will serve as the club’s exclusive healthcare technology partner, equipping Bayern with an array of cutting edge medical systems to ensure players stay healthy and assist in injury recovery.

Heading into 2018, Bayern is positioning itself to continue its role as a leader in the area of sports innovation.

The club recently announced it is kicking off the new year by holding its first hackathon event, from January 19–22, 2018 at Allianz Arena in Munich. According to the club, the goal of the hackathon is to bring together fans, students and experts to develop new fan experiences and innovations, breaking new ground with partners including Telekom, adidas, Audi, SAP, Siemens and DHL.

“With the FC Bayern HackDays we are creating a new sustainable platform for innovation combining the creative power of our fans, partners, students and experts from all around the world,” says Mennerich.

Armed with new information following the club’s first ever FC Bayern Fan Survey, which was conducted this fall in North America, the hackathon will help the club continue to engage with its global fan base and improve the overall fan experience.

“We are a traditional football club from Bavaria with a very rich history of 117 years. Football was and will be always the core of our club. Innovations via technology and digital give us fascinating new opportunities on and off the pitch,” Mennerich says, commenting on Bayern’s innovation mission, “We are very keen to explore and implement those if consistent with our brand and DNA. However, there needs to be this fit as innovation only for the sake of innovation will not work in most cases.“

So far, Bayern’s investment into innovation has been paying off. On the field, the club has been a consistent leader in the Bundesliga, and off the field, it has seen surges in the growth of its fan base, particularly in emerging soccer markets like the United States. Its notably strong creative and engaging digital presence has been a huge catalyst in this growth. A Nielsen study found that since the launch of its U.S. office in 2014, Bayern has nearly doubled its digital audience.

Coming off a busy 2017 and with HackDays right around the corner, it is clear that Bayern’s innovation story is just beginning.

This piece was presented to you by AudienceView.

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.


Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read


How Daily Fantasy Sports Solved NBA Fantasy

The remarkable growth of the #1 Discord sports server in the world.

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.

How Cisco and the NFL Are Shaping a More Inclusive Future

The NFL and Cisco partner to launch the NFL IT Apprenticeship Program.

The Pickleball Effect: How Tech Amplifies Sports From Niche to Notorious

A closer look at what defines the niche sports fan.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the US Open is Designed for Drama


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.
The Adidas ball has changed over the years.

The Most Advanced Tech at the Women’s World Cup Might Surprise You

This year’s OCEAUNZ introduces connected ball technology to the women’s game.

Creating Fan-Centric Content With AI

WSC’s highlight automation improved the speed of ESPN’s content creation.

Rewriting the Sports Media Playbook

WSC’s highlight automation improved Clemson’s content strategy and overall growth.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.

Re-Imagining Storytelling With AI

Amy Anderson, Head of Content Strategy at NASCAR Studios, discusses the role of AI technology in developing and growing new content.
Arial view of Audi testing track
December 4, 2022

Audi Gears Up for F1 with Major New Facility

Audi is building a 10,000 square-foot building to support its F1 efforts.
Woman wears Meta Quest headset while working out to have virtual reality exercise session
November 22, 2022

Meta’s Plans for VR Fitness Could Hit Snag

A government agency is looking to block an acquisition by Meta.
Nike phone advertisement
November 15, 2022

Nike Jumps Further into Metaverse With Virtual Sneaker Platform

The world’s largest sportswear company is taking its talents to the metaverse.