Borussia Dortmund mulling "long and sustainable relationship" with India
By Abhishek Hore
New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) German giants Borussia Dortmund could enter the Indian market in a big way, and the Bundesliga club's chief marketing officer Carsten Cramer says they are looking at a long and sustainable relationship with their next "obvious destination" in Asia after China and Japan.
In the last few years, Dortmund officials have made a lot of trips to Asia, and they are now trying to establish their presence in India, having observed the market here for some time.
"India is a market that we have been observing and monitoring in the last few years and the growth of football is very much prevalent. After establishing our Asia presence in 2014 and thereafter China in 2016, India seems the obvious destination," Cramer told PTI.
He said the club will not merely borrow from its model in China and Japan as far as India is concerned.
"We have made our presence in many Asian markets -- South East Asia, Japan, China, and Mongolia and all these cities are unique in its own way. We are not copy pasting our plans and business models from these markets into India.
"It will be given its own merits and we came to learn, study and understand the culture, industry from the different stakeholders and at the same time take back some impressions.
"We will work out a strategy for the Indian market. It will be a bottom up approach hence it should begin in this fashion."
The club is looking to tap the Indian market months after the country hosted its maiden FIFA tournament -- U-17 World Cup last year, during which there was heightened interest for the sport here.
During his visit to the country recently, the Dortmund officials met a few Indian clubs, including Bengaluru FC.
Asked if they are mulling a tie-up with an Indian club anytime soon, he said, "When the right strategy is in place and most of the boxes in our checklist are ticked, we can address this.
"However, we are looking at a long and sustainable relationship in India and we want to make it right from the beginning. We should have something in place in the coming months."
Asked how the club coped following the ghastly terrorist attack on its team bus more than a year ago, he said, "It was emotionally hard for everyone at the club during that unfortunate and unforgettable evening but this is Dortmund and we are strong at heart and the club's history and traditions flow in our blood.
"This is the DNA of Dortmund and we stand united to fight against these atrocities. The pain may have disappeared but the memory remains."
The club finished fourth in the Bundesliga and successfully secured a Champions League spot.
"It has never been easy having to replace one of the best managers in world football (Juergen Klopp in 2015) but as they say, the show must go on. We did pretty well thereafter for a couple of seasons and then injuries, player movements and some poor form last season got us into a bad patch and that cost us.
"However, with the challenging campaign last season, we still manage to get into the champions league and that I must say was a bonus. Hopefully the difficult times are behind us