European Business: Mr. Mennerich, 226 participants from 43 nations over 4 days – on the strength of the numbers, it was a very successful event. What has organizer FC Bayern taken away from the event?
Stefan Mennerich: The FC Bayern Hackdays exceeded our expectations in every regard. The enthusiasm of the 226 participants, who had travelled from 43 countries to be here, was incredible. People who had never met before joined together in teams to work on the tasks that had been set. The results were almost uniformly excellent. Highly creative, extremely innovative, technically already well advanced in many cases. Of particular importance for us was using the FC Bayern Hackdays to find out what new initiatives and innovations the fans expect to see from FC Bayern and that is best done when the fans make the suggestions and develop the initiatives themselves. But even without the excellent results, the atmosphere in the Allianz Arena over the four days was unbelievable. Everyone had fun and, as well as focusing their attention on programming and development, they also cheered on the team to a 4-2 victory against Werder Bremen. I think the FC Bayern Hackdays were a complete success.
"Of particular importance for us was using the FC Bayern Hackdays to find out what new initiatives and innovations the fans expect to see from FC Bayern." Stefan MennerichMedia Director at FC Bayern Munich
European Business: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said that “digitalization should be a key element off the football pitch”. Industry 4.0 is already a hot topic of discussion. Are we now seeing the start of Football 4.0 and what are the possible consequences?
Stefan Mennerich: Digitalization is important for FC Bayern. We have more than 600 million fans worldwide and the best way to reach and stay in contact with them is via digital platforms. We now have almost 80 million followers on various social media sites. Through these sites they can be part of our training sessions, follow us when we are away at Champion’s League matches or at training camps. We always have a full team of editors producing content for our various web, social media and TV channels. We also try to respond as fully as possible to feedback from the fans. We can see from their response that we are doing the right things. But it doesn’t stop there; more and more of our internal processes, from accounting to match analysis, are carried out digitally. That is why it made complete sense when we completely restructured our front end and back end processes almost two years ago. This forms the basis for all future developments in this area. In all of this, however, we must never forget that we are and will always be a football club and the most important thing at FC Bayern is the team’s performance on the pitch!
"We are and will always be a football club and the most important thing at FC Bayern is the team’s performance on the pitch!" Stefan MennerichMedia Director at FC Bayern Munich
European Business: A personal question to finish: Which winning team impressed you the most with their idea and why?
Stefan Mennerich: The overall winner, team “Beat Adidas” made a very strong impression on me. The connection between real world and virtual world was particularly successful. The principle behind the solution: The person who is best able to perform real tasks such as for example, the person who can jump the highest from a standing position or who can cheer on the team with the best song, receives a discount in the mobile shop. That is a fun idea and it makes sense for the shop owner. But there were a lot of other good ideas and we won’t just be supporting the overall winner.
Interview: Markus Büssecker