Paderborn is not the hub of the world when it comes to big trips. However, on Monday, a grandiose group formed in the city bearing a huge “Welcome Back” poster that already signifies welcome to returnees from the other side of the planet. Having been in another world for nearly two weeks, the Longing Paderborners have welcomed SC Paderborn, having emerged from a dreary pre-season in East Westphalia, to the land of unlimited opportunity!
The second division team spent twelve days on a fantastic mission in the United States for the tour group. Managing Director Fabian Volgemuth doesn’t want to overstate the trip either: “The travel expenses for our training camp were a little bit higher. We accepted that for the team-building effect of the trip.” There is probably a reason for this East Westphalian sobriety, after all you can ask some intriguing questions about this trip: What exactly did the seventh-placed player in the second Bundesliga do on the other side of the Atlantic?
Why is SC Paderborn producing an English language film to advertise the regional beer? And is it good or bad news for German football when SC Paderborn is sent by all people abroad for marketing purposes?
Ironically, should SC Paderborn be marketed in the US?
First things first: The German Football League (DFL) is subsidizing trips by its clubs to so-called “specified target markets”, such as the USA. Any club in the first two leagues can apply, and according to the Paderborn criteria, this subsidy covers a significant proportion of the total costs. Add to that the demo match fees and Wohlgemuth’s good personal contacts with an agency – and a great adventure is already on the horizon. “In the United States, the Bundesliga is still currently dominated by La Liga and the Premier League,” says Volgemuth, who also saw good opportunities for representation as a second-tier club.
SCP’s entourage stopped in Minneapolis, Madison and Chicago, and it was clear early on that this flight would indeed operate in Paderborn. SCP established contacts with the MLB team of the Minnesota Twins through German baseball star Max Kepler, who had contact with the city through his sponsorship from the German baseball academy founded in Paderborn. Before the match, the twins shared a photo of the Kepler and some Paderborns with 685,000 followers on Twitter – a number corresponding to about four and a half times the population of the city of Paderborn. Subsequently, centre-back Uwe Hoenmeyer completed “First Pitch”, a task that US presidents are also happy to take on.
Otherwise, he chased after an element of the following program: In a test match against Minnesota United, Paderborn almost filled the MLS stadium. In another game, the clichés surrounding Paderborn helped fill the playing field: opponent Forward-Madison announced a duel with Paderborn with “German food”, “German beer” and “German polka band”. Mascot “Holly,” the mouse, provided cuddly toys to young children, the team played basketball at one of the nation’s leading sports universities, and the social media team reported four times higher than usual impressions.
Wohlgemuth thinks the Paderborn team has sparked a small wave of enthusiasm. “It was also a very good time on a personal level,” he says. “Our club was received here with great interest.” It can, of course, be questioned whether the residents of West Westphalians have now opened up new areas of marketing abroad in spite of everything. Of course, the question arises about what was originally announced here? For German football? For SC Paderborn? Or rather the German polka? The focus has always been on the athletic program, says Follgemuth.
“The effects of the flight are long-term. After the 10th round we got smarter,” Paderborn’s managing director doubts. But East Westphalian players are already looking forward to many great experiences and the secure feeling that German football might not worry if someone other than Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund competes for overseas marketing.
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