Munich - As record Bundesliga, 2013 UEFA Champions League and , it is no exaggeration to say that FC Bayern München are one of the most talked about clubs in football.
'Secret to success'
Yet their global pulling power owes as much to the that walk the walk on the pitch as it does to the media brains working tirelessly around the clock off it, as bundesliga.com finds out.
“When nothing much is really happening, 20 interview requests come in; when something is going on, you get over 120,” explained Bayern’s renowned media director Markus Hörwick. “We see ourselves as a service provider. From the very start, we always wanted to be a media partner […] You always have to be thinking what more you can do or what can be done differently.”
With over 31 years’ experience on the job, the 58-year-old is the longest-serving media kingpin in the German game, but even he keeps on learning. “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along,” he said. “Football’s all about emotion and authenticity,” he continued, referring to former Bayern coach Giovanni Trapattoni’s infamous public outburst back in March 1998. “That’s the secret to the success of any club.”
'Our strategy is spot-on'
Hörwick’s laconic credo has helped catapult the Bavarian outfit from domestic giant to worldwide powerhouse. In 1983, he helped found Germany’s first ever press office. Now, he proudly presides over a team of 24 steadfast employees in what can only be compared to a global news agency. Be it an interview with contacts across the pond or a piece on Bastian Schweinsteiger at the club’s museum, Bayern’s media-savvy ensemble have every angle covered.
Unlike in Italy and Spain, for example, the record German champions have the freedom to explore every avenue in their mission to keep all four corners of the globe in the loop when it comes to matters FCB. Since Pep Guardiola took charge, the interest has grown even further, given the Catalan’s own global allure. One day it is the New York Times, the next it's the Xinhua news agency in China wanting an exclusive.
'Mobile’s always on'
Bayern’s international strivings, however, have not come without a few personal sacrifices for the man at the media helm. “My mobile’s always on,” Hörwick laughed. “The family have to play along.” A husband and father to three children, he nevertheless rewards his Bayern-centred clan’s patience with tickets to big matches, such as the Champions League final at Wembley in May 2013.
Bayern’s European conquest over eighteen months ago was but one of many triumphant shifts at the office for Casa Hörwick’s resident workaholic, who later took the award for 2013 PR Professional of the Year, thanks also to his innovation: Skype interviews, group chats and telephone conferences are now an everyday element of life at Säbener Straße and as much a fixture in the club's plush headquarters as the media honcho himself has been for over three decades.
Oliver Trust / Adaptation: Christopher Mayer-Lodge