Recently, many soccer teams have been exploring the intersection of basketball and soccer — an effort led, in part, by a growing relationship between the sports’ biggest stars.
FC Bayern Munich, though, took a different approach, deciding this past fall to examine the intersection between European soccer and college football culture, which is a territory previously unexplored in the industry.
The exploration sparked a journey that crossed oceans. Seen through the eyes of Texas A&M senior Colin Brennan, a video released last week on the club’s U.S. social handles takes viewers to Kyle Field in College Station, Texas and Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.
Two sports. One shared passion. Follow @TAMU senior, Colin Brennan, as he connects the cultures of college ???? at @AggieFootball, and European ⚽ at #FCBayern. ????????????????#CollegeFussball pic.twitter.com/DYMlvEJMMY
— ???????? FC Bayern US ???????? (@FCBayernUS) February 1, 2019
While the sports themselves differ tremendously, something bonds their fans together: a shared sense of passion for their respective teams. This is something Bayern clearly outlines in the video as it captures scenes from game day at each stadium.
Parallels between the fan bases, something that might be overlooked by many, have been on Bayern’s radar for a while.
“Whenever we talk about soccer to someone who is not yet a fan, we always use college football fan culture to describe the passion around the game,” said FC Bayern Munich’s President of the Americas, Rudolf Vidal.
“The fandom around these two sports is incredibly similar — avid, passed down through generations with the game day chants having huge influence on the game.”
From the storied “midnight yell” at Kyle Field, which brings over 20,000 fans to Kyle Field the night before a game to practice cheers for the next day, to Bayern’s infamous 9,000 person fan section called Südkurve, followers of both teams are dedicated to their fandom.
For both teams, fandom is often passed down from generation to generation, and the communities that support them become like families.
“As a student at Texas A&M, it always feels like a family to me and we have a saying ‘we are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.’ Here with Bayern Munich, the slogan is ‘mia san mia,’ which is ‘we are who we are’ and it’s just family ties, club ties, and the club becomes your family,” said Brennan.
The timing of the piece was perfect. Launching ahead of the Super Bowl, the club was able to catch the attention of football fans by leaning into the hype of one of sports’ most anticipated events.
This is not the first time Bayern has ventured into football.
Last summer, the club teamed up with the University of Miami for a soccer and football crossover game featuring legends from the German club and the university. The match, which occurred at the House of Soccer ahead of the International Champions Cup in Miami, resulted in a number of pieces of content across FC Bayern US’s social handles and entertained fans who attended in person.
Untraditional thinking has set Bayern apart as it has worked to grow its brand in the U.S. Studying one of America’s favorite sports, and one of college football’s favorite teams, is a good next step in bridging the gaps between soccer and non-soccer fans, finding commonality where others haven’t yet looked.