Berlin Communication Congress 2016

Under constant fire: Communication in the Bundesliga

In professional football there is no free weekends. This means: 34 game days, 34 contingencies and, thus, 34 communication tasks, which will come in all forms and shapes from fair-weather PR to crisis communication. On September 22, 2016, Christian Gruber, Managing Director of Tipico Deutschland, together with Markus Hörwick, former media director of FC Bayern Munich, spoke about the challenges in everyday life in the Bundesliga at the Communication Congress of the Federal Association of German Press Officers (BDP).

Christian Gruber, Managing Director at Tipico Deutschland, speaks about the every-day challenges in the football Bundesliga at the BDP’s Communication Congress.

In front of an audience of about 100, Christian Gruber, a long-time First and Second League press relations officer himself, introduced the section panel’s topic and spoke about the changes in the profile of a press relations officer in the Bundesliga. “The media work in the Bundesliga has been professionalised considerably over the years,” Gruber said. “Clubs increasingly established their own media companies using the entire spectrum of media tools to provide comprehensive information about all and everything in connection with their clubs”. However, more power means more responsibility. Media departments run as profit centres operate on completely new parameters and require significant, new decision-making powers.

Markus Hörwick, the first press relations officer in the Bundesliga, also spoke about his vast experience at the Communication Congress. He has accompanied the FC Bayern since 1982 and witnessed all successes and failures from very close up. For the former media director, digitalisation transformed the media work decisively. At the same time, he observed how the quality of news coverage has gradually declined. “This is an extremely exciting development, because, for now, nobody can predict the extent to which the digital world and perception will change our media work“, Markus Hörwick explains.

Finally, both speakers agreed that the German football generates more media contacts with each and every single training or match than some DAX-listed corporations could dare dreaming of. Sports communication in general, and football in particular are real contact drivers. Both sport and economy could benefit and make common, comprehensive and sustainable use of this versatile potential.