Borussia Dortmund have become the third club in Germany to have reached the 100,000 member mark. The man who has put our club into six-digit figures was welcomed by the entire club management ahead of the Bundesliga game against Nuremberg on Saturday. His name is Mathias Fandrey and he comes from Arnsberg.
“We are seeing a great development in membership numbers. Never before have we had such rapid growth,” said BVB president Dr Reinhard Rauball, adding: “I’m happy about every individual who is finding his way to Borussia Dortmund. I hope he finds the emotional home he should have as a BVB fan.”
More than 13 years ago, BVB launched a membership drive called “Aktion 40,000”. Its aim was to quadruple the number of club members which was 11,000 at the time. “We strive for membership numbers that match the domestic importance of our club,” said the then president Dr Gerd Niebaum about the campaign. The club’s treasurer, who’s now the chairman of the club, was put in charge of its implementation. Hans-Joachim Watzke remembers: “At the time we thought, ’40,000? We will never achieve that!’ Now we have reached 100,000! This is great, and a sign that the club is alive!”
1,800 members in 1989 - 20,000 in 2005
“Especially when you consider where we come from,“ says Reinhold Lunow. In 1989, when BVB ended their 23-year title draught by winning the DFB Cup, the club had 1,800 members. Even in the “roaring 90s”, when BVB won the Bundesliga in 1995 and 1996 as well as the Champions League, “only” between 1,000 and 2,500 new members joined the club annually – today the growth rates have tenfold.
Als Lunow Ende des Jahres 2005 von der Mitgliederversammlung in das Amt des Schatzmeisters bei Borussia Dortmund gewählt wurde, lag die Zahl der Mitglieder bei 20.000. Zwei Jahre später zündete die Kampagne „Welche Farbe hat Dein Herz?“, und mit dem sportlichen Erfolg wuchs die schwarzgelbe Familie in einer Rasanz, wie es das noch nie gegeben hat. Nicht im Klub. Nicht im deutschen Vereinsleben. 2011 zählte die Mitgliederbetreuung 16.000 Eintritte, 2012 waren es 19.000 und 2013 sogar 21.000. „Die anderen Vereine haben ihre Mitgliederzahlen seit 2007 in etwa verdoppelt – wir haben sie vervierfacht“, berichtet Lunow.
In 2005, when Lunow was elected as Borussia Dortmund’s treasurer, the club had 20,000 members. Two years later, following the “Which colour has your heart?” campaign and BVB’s successes on the pitch, the Black and Yellow family grew at a pace never before seen - neither at BVB nor at any other club in Germany. In 2011, 16,000 new members were added, in 2012 19,000 and in 2013 21,000 joined the club. “Other clubs have about doubled their membership numbers since 2007 – we have quadrupled them,” says Ludrow.
Borussia Dortmund have become only the third club in Germany after FC Bayern Munich and FC Schalke 04 to break through the magic barrier of 100,000 members. This number ensures flexibility in economic terms. Once in debt by 7.7 million euros, BVB have been debt free since last year, and the club management headed by president Dr Reinhard Rauball, his deputy Gerd Pieper and treasurer Reinhold Lunow now have think about how to use the funds wisely. There are plans to raise the equity component of the KGaA, but there are also “things to improve in all areas and all departments,” according to Lunow. Because besides football, Borussia Dortmund also have handball and table tennis teams for all abilities and ages.
More than 2,000 requests per month
But this huge number of members also has its challenges. “At the moment we have five people working in the member service department,” says supervisor Kai Ruben. “We are currently processing 2,000 requests per months. And this also means that 2,000 welcome packages have to be sent out.” Then there are the concerns of existing members, and so the phones are ringing constantly. “It’s quite a bit of work,” says Ruben, appearing inspired by this challenge.
BVB have already pursued the reasons for the rapid membership growth. A survey, so Lunow, offered some surprising results. “Not ticket benefits, but a deep affinity for BVB has been the most popular answer.”
Well, just Real Love.