Owing to the need to act responsibly yet also be there for the club’s international fans, Borussia Dortmund is planning a “Virtual BVB Tour of Asia” for the COVID-19 era.
The eight-time German league champions cancelled their original plans early on during the pandemic as a precautionary measure, having intended to tour China and other countries in South East Asia with the senior team. Nevertheless, “many fans and partners from the region were in touch with us saying that they still wanted to get as close to the players as possible, especially in this most difficult of situations”, explained BVB Managing Director Carsten Cramer. He added that “this inspired us to strengthen our digital communications from Dortmund to Asia in close cooperation with our office locations in Singapore and Shanghai as part of our preparations for the 2020/21 Bundesliga season”.
It is expected that the current runners up will combine a variety measures as part of a “Virtual BVB Tour of Asia” during the first few days of August. Online content will include virtual meetings with players, livestreams of training sessions and possibly friendly matches as well. Offline content will take the form of activities on location with BVB legends, BVB’s mascot EMMA and the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy insofar as the currently applicable corona protection measures allow for it.
The 30 or more BVB fan clubs from the region will have a special place as part of the tour, as will partners such as Evonik, Puma, Rowe, Duisport and several Asian companies. For example, the launch of the new cup jersey, among other things, is currently being planned together with the club’s primary international sponsors, Evonik and Puma. The cup jersey is traditionally worn for all DFB cup matches, UEFA Champions League matches and for international friendly matches.
Benedikt Scholz, BVB’s Head of International & New Business, gave another concrete example of how the tour has been designed and geared for action both on location and at home: “Fans will be able to travel with the BVB tour bus in Shanghai to a Black and Yellow viewing party and will get to know EMMA as well as the staff at BVB’s China office. They can watch the team’s training session in Dortmund via the livestream accompanied by Chinese commentary and with a link to a Chinese reporter at the training ground. After training has finished, they will able to meet BVB players during an exclusive online meet-and-greet.”
A few days later during virtual stops in Singapore and Tokyo, media representatives will be invited to special online press conferences with exclusive interview opportunities for the Bundesliga’s TV partners in each particular region, once again accompanied by live broadcasts of training sessions in English.
“Very soon after it became clear that COVID-19 was going to prevent us and our Asian friends from seeing each other again this summer, something we had all been looking forward to, we started working really hard on alternative opportunities”, explained Benedikt Scholz. “The virtual tour was the result of these efforts, though we do of course appreciate that it can never serve as a satisfactory substitute for personal contact with the people involved. Nonetheless, it was very important for us to be able to demonstrate just how close our relationship is with our fans and friends worldwide. And we do also hope of course that we will soon overcome this difficult phase together.”