Dortmund making 3-stop virtual tour

Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund may have halted plans to visit Asia this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic but the club are still keen to reach out to their fans in the region.

The side announced yesterday that they will launch a virtual tour from Aug 19 to 24, with stops in Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo.

The Germans were scheduled to feature in July's International Champions Cup Singapore and a pre-season tour in Asia but both were cancelled owing to the coronavirus.

In a video conference call with the global media, Dortmund's head of the international department Benedikt Scholz said: "It is a challenging time for all of us but we want to make the most of it.

"Accessibility and personal contact are not possible these days, so we want to have personal contact via digital and virtual means.

"Our ambition is to be as close as possible even with a distance of 10,000km between us, to give fans the feeling that we're committed to supporting you with your needs."

Tour activities planned include virtual meet-and-greet sessions, merchandise giveaways and live streamings of Dortmund training sessions and matches against German club MSV Duisburg and Dutch side Feyenoord.

The pre-season mini tournament will take place on Aug 22 and both Dortmund matches, along with post-match interviews, will be streamed live. The club has also collaborated with Singapore Premier League club Lion City Sailors, whose footballers will participate in three challenges performing tricks like the crossbar challenge. These videos will also be released during the tour.

BVB Asia-Pacific managing director Suresh Letchmanan said: "What's important is to bridge clubs in Singapore and Germany. It's a light-hearted way to show how we can connect since we're apart."

Scholz added that the club plans to build on increased global interest after the Bundesliga was the first major European league to restart on May 16. The six matches that day attracted over six million viewers in Germany, a record for broadcasters Sky, according to website DWDL.de.

One of those games was the Ruhr Valley derby between Dortmund and Schalke, which the former won 4-0. In the United Kingdom, 1.4 million people watched this game across television and digital platforms, reported Forbes.

Scholz said: "We realised there was tremendous interest as our ratings increased, which was nice for us. Now our ambition is to follow up with interested people and reach out to them to grow the fan base of the club."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2020, with the headline 'Dortmund making 3-stop virtual tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe