Fox Sports reaches out to fan groups

While Fox Sports may have been a little slow at the self-promotion game at the start of this year’s Bundesliga season, the network is making up time, reaching out to fan groups to help build the German league here in the U.S. The first weekend, the network was live withthe third largest Bayern Munich fan club in the U.S., located in Los Angeles. And this weekend they’re headed east — to Brauhaus Schmitz, home to the Bundesliga Fan Coalition.

“Fox Sports 1 contacted Doug (Hager, owner of Brauhaus Schmitz) last night and asked to be a part of our September 12 watch party,” said Mike Barber, of the BFC. “They want to set up a camera to show live reactions back to the studio in Los Angeles. We are trying to get as many people to arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. ET as possible because they’ll be setting up prior to their pre-match show.”

FC Bayern Munich was a help in getting the word to Fox Sports about these fan groups. Marketing personnel with the club have been in talks with Fox executives and send them information now and then about Bundesliga groups and activities in the U.S. Personnel sent them the Fanatic article from last month about Bundesliga fan clubs.

And it appears Fox is indeed serious about reaching out to fans. Doug Langner, of KC Bundesliga, a fan group in Kansas City, said he was contact this last week by someone at Fox who plans to visit a future Kansas City watch party.

And more and more fan groups are starting, including one in Austin that, according to fan Chris Wilkes, took over a Tottenham bar to watch the game, part of a tailgating party before the University of Tennessee football game — a mix of two cultures.

Barber said it is very important for Americans to see these Bundesliga fan groups.

“America needs groups like Philly BFC, KC Bundesliga, and fans that support the league as a whole, rather than the hostile fans that we know are out there,” Barber said.  “It’s extremely important to focus on growing Bundesliga in America and pushing Fox to add more matches on Fox Sports 1.”

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Jody Strauch teaches mass media at Northwest Missouri State University. She's fairly new to Bundesliga but has been a rabid fan since the 2006 World Cup. You can follow her on Twitter @jodelld. She tweets FC Schalke 04, FC Fulham, and Sporting Kansas City.

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