Second division team on tour of America: Paderborn in the USA – Sport

Paderborn is not usually the hub of the world when it comes to big trips. On this Monday, however, a stately squad with a huge “Welcome back” poster formed in the city, which already suggested the greeting of returnees from the other side of the planet. Longing Paderborners welcomed their SC Paderborn, who had been in another world for almost two weeks, out of the dreary pre-season in East Westphalia, into the land of unlimited opportunities!

The second division team was on a mission in the United States that was impressive for the tour group for twelve days. Managing Director Fabian Wohlgemuth doesn’t want to exaggerate the trip either: “The travel expenses for our training camp were a 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 could ask a few curious 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 a pithy image film in English advertising the regional beer? And is that good or bad news for German football when SC Paderborn of all people is sent overseas for marketing purposes?

Ironically, SC Paderborn should be marketed in the USA?

First things first: The German Football League (DFL) subsidizes trips by its clubs to so-called “defined target markets”, such as the USA. Any club in the top two leagues can apply, and by Paderborn standards this subsidy covers a significant proportion of the total costs. Add to this the initial fees for test matches and Wohlgemuth’s good personal contacts with an agency – and the great adventure is already on the horizon. “In the USA, the Bundesliga is currently still overshadowed by La Liga and Premier League,” says Wohlgemuth, who also saw good opportunities for representation as a second division club.

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The SCP entourage stopped in Minneapolis, Madison and Chicago, and it was clear early on that this trip would actually work for Paderborn. The SCP established contact with the MLB team of the Minnesota Twins through the German baseball star Max Kepler, who had a connection to the city through his sponsorship from the German Baseball Academy founded in Paderborn. Before a game, the Twins shared a photo of Kepler and some Paderborners with their 685,000 followers on Twitter – this number corresponds to about four and a half times as many people as the city of Paderborn actually has inhabitants. Central defender Uwe Hünemeier then completed the “first pitch”, a task that US presidents are also happy to take on.

And otherwise one program item chased the next: In a test match against Minnesota United, the Paderborn team almost filled an MLS stadium. In another game, the cliché that surrounded Paderborn helped fill the stadium: opponent Forward Madison advertised the duel with Paderborn with “German food” and “German beer”, and a “German Polka band”. The mascot “Holli”, a mouse, gave out cuddly toys to toddlers, the team played basketball in one of the country’s leading sports universities, and the social media team reported impressions that were four times higher than usual.

Wohlgemuth believes that the Paderborn team triggered a small wave of enthusiasm. “It was also a very good time on a personal level. Our club was received here with great interest,” he says. Whether the East Westphalians have now opened up new marketing fields overseas can of course be legitimately questioned despite everything. And of course the question arises as to what was advertised here at all? For German football? For SC Paderborn? Or rather for German polka? The focus has always been on the sporting program, says Wohlgemuth.

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“The effects of the trip are more long-term. After the tenth matchday we are smarter,” suspects the Paderborn managing director. But the East Westphalians are already looking forward to many great experiences and the safe feeling that German football might not have to worry if someone other than Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund competes for foreign marketing.



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