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SOCCER

Bayern Munich looks to emulate US success of the Premier League

The former Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn, believes the Bundesliga can be as popular as the Premier League in the United States.

Update:
Hamburg (Germany).- The CEO of German Bundesliga soccer club Bayern Munich Oliver Kahn at the memorial ceremony for former Hamburg SV soccer player Uwe Seeler at the Volkspark stadium in Hamburg, northern Germany, 10 August 2022. Former HSV soccer player Uwe Seeler died on 21 July 2022, at the age of 85. (Alemania, Hamburgo) EFE/EPA/Ibrahim Ot / POOL
Ibrahim Ot / POOLEFE

This summer, FC Bayern Munich returned to the United States for their pre-season tour for the first time since 2019, playing two friendlies in front of packed stadiums. The first exhibition match was against DC United at a sold-out Audi Field, where the Bundesliga giants outclassed the MLS side in a 6-2 victory.

Bayern then traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to play against reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City, this time at a sold-out Lambeau Field. This historic event was the first soccer game to ever be played in the NFL’s oldest stadium and home of the Green Bay Packers. It was a spectacle for the 78,128 fans to witness Erling Haaland scoring his first goal for the Cityzens, handing victory to Pep Guardiola’s team.

With this conclusion of Bayern’s pre-season, and after seeing the love shown by the fans over the two games, the team’s CEO, Oliver Kahn, said that he believes that the Bundesliga has the potential to become as popular as the Premier League in the United States. The former German international explained the strategies that could increase the stateside popularity of the Bundesliga.

The importance of fans around the world

For us it’s very important to attract new fans from all over the world and grow our fan base outside of Germany. The US is a very, very interesting market where we have a lot of fans and where we, as Bayern Munich, see a lot of potential growth in the future,” Kahn told the Financial Times. “If you look at the valuation of the MLS clubs, they have a very high valuation. That shows soccer is growing in the US.”

At the same time, Bayern’s CEO is aware of how popular the Premier League is in America, but says that he believes the Bundesliga has potential to be just as important. The Financial Times released a report showing the difference in broadcast rights between Bayern Munich and Manchester City last season in the United States, with the Bundesliga side earning €254 million compared to the €335 million earned by the Cityzens.

“The Premier League is very exciting. Before the season starts, I think there are four of five teams that have the chance to win the championship. In the Bundesliga at the moment, we are very dominant at Bayern Munich,” Kahn added. “But this is not a problem of Bayern Munich, this is a problem of our competition.”

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