Dortmund branch into Singapore and South-east Asia
Dortmund want to market brand in South-east Asia, offer local players training stints
Bold and stylish on the football pitch, Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund are also proving ambitious and expansive off it.
With a view to growing their brand across South-east Asia, the club had set up an office in Singapore last October.
It marked the first time in their 106-year history that the 1997 Champions League winners were branching outside of Germany.
Following in the footsteps of top English clubs that have set up shop in Singapore - Arsenal and Chelsea also have an Asian base here - Dortmund, however, are not competing against English Premier League mania in the Republic.
Rather, the club's marketing director Carsten Cramer feels there is a place in Singapore for German football, alongside the strong Liverpool and Manchester United fanaticism.
"We know it's a challenge because the English league is popular in this region, he said.
"But we are taking it step by step. We are here to stay; we wouldn't have set up an office here otherwise.
"The target is not to overtake the English league, but to run our own race.
"The increase in jersey sales here has been good and it shows that there is strong interest in Dortmund."
Cramer was speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of the official inauguration of the club's office at the International Business Park in Boon Lay yesterday.
The ceremony marked a traditional lion dance witnessed by Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
The office is headed by Singaporean Suresh Letchmanan, the club's chief representative in Asia, who is tasked with tackling a market saturated with European football offerings.
One of the office's priorities is for the first team to tour the region and engage fans.
It is also strategically located next to main sponsor Evonik Industries - a chemical company whose South-east Asian branch is also located at the International Business Park.
The club have partnered Evonik since 2013 and recently extended the deal until the 2024-2025 season, making it the longest sponsorship penned in football.
The eight-time Bundesliga champions, who boast an overseas fan base of 11.8 million, have set their sights on hosting more football activities here in the future.
Their affiliation with Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim, whom they beat 6-1 in a friendly in Johor Baru on Thursday, has already seen Johor midfielder Gary Robbat undergo a one-month training stint in Germany.
Such opportunities could also present itself to young Singaporean footballers, said Cramer.
"Whenever you have an idea, we are open-minded and offer open doors," he said.
"We won't always be able to come here, but we can bring you to us to see and experience the intensity of the German game.
"The welcomes we received in Japan, Malaysia and here have confirmed that we were right in basing our office here.
"In football, we have fans, not clients. Fans are not something you can buy and with fans, the loyalty is deeper."
"The target is not to overtake the English league, but to run our own race. The increase in jersey sales here has been good and it shows that there is strong interest in Dortmund."
— Borussia Dortmund marketing director Carsten Cramer, saying there is a place for German football in Singapore