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Borussia Dortmund sets sights on USA due to Pulisic's potential

Christian Pulisic’s development has drawn a lot of attention over the past year or so and Borussia Dortmund is hoping to take advantage of that attention by making inroads into the United States.

Borussia Dortmund’s marketing chief Carsten Cramer told Spox that he believes Pulisic has the potential to be ” a global superstar” that could help the club’s push into the American eye. The 18-year-old winger signed a new deal with the club in January and has started 18 matches in his first full season with the senior team.

“Christian Pulisic has the potential to become a global superstar by American standards,” Cramer told Spox. “In the USA, there has been no comparable player. It is a gigantic driving force for us, comparable to the relevance of Shinji Kagawa in Japan. The difference is that Japan has a bigger football history, but, in the USA, the market is again significantly larger.”

Cramer says there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to pushing into the U.S. eye. Like many European clubs, Dortmund could travel to the U.S. for high-profile preseason matches, putting them in the public eye across the country.

“It’s about how,” Cramer said. “How do we get up there? How do we get there? We certainly will not be like Real Madrid to get a stadium ready for 90,000 spectators right away. We are just trying to build cooperations in the style of ‘grassroots initiatives’ with different clubs. We also ask ourselves whether it does not make sense to go not only to the East, but also to the West of the USA.

“There is, above all, the Hispanic part that gives football a higher affinity than on the east coast. The massive increase in digital reach and merchandising sales also play a role. With Evonik and Puma, we have two partners who are also interested in this market. We extend different sensors with the aim of setting a foundation there.”

22 comments
    • yankiboy

      Hey Texan, thanks for addressing something that I also found to be a bit of a head scratcher the second that I read it…

      Like

    • Gary Page

      In the early 1970’s I was in the US Air Force at a base in northern Japan. We had a base team that I played on. We played whatever Japanese teams we could find. Our team was a mix of guys who had never played and a few ex college players and everything in between. We found about the same mix of quality in the Japanese teams. One year we lost more than we won, the next year we won more than we lost. The second year the local high school team was supposedly nationally ranked and they kicked our butts. From my experience I concluded that the US and Japan were about in the same stage of development. The J League started 3 years before MLS. The World Cup was in the US in 1994, in Japan and Korea in 2002. The US got one game farther in 2002 than Japan. Japan did not qualify in 1994 and has not done better in the World Cup than the US at any time. I think the Dortmund official is basing his remarks on his impression rather than facts, especially given the rising attendance found in new MLS franchises. Also, the US attendance in 1994 for the WC is still the all time highest attendance mark in WC history and when European teams come to the US for exhibitions they usually fill 50,000 plus sized stadiums.

      Liked by 1 person

      • UclaBruinGreat

        “I think the Dortmund official is basing his remarks on his impression rather than facts.”

        My guess as well. Soccer is a top 2 sport in Japan (after baseball), and in the U.S. we all know soccer is probably like the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th (depending on if you include: college football and basketball, Nascar, Golf, Tennis, etc.). I’m not even sure where soccer stacks up here in the overall American consciousness, but people abroad know that soccer isn’t towards the top and that affects their perception.

        In fairness though, we all know that game attendance is not a good measure of the overall popularity and success of a league. Overall revenue and most importantly tv ratings and revenue are the best indicators. I found this list on Wikipedia on overall revenue but I don’t trust it because it has MLS ahead of Liga MX. I doubt that.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_leagues_by_revenue

        Like

      • Jesse d

        He could just be wrong. Seems like he got a couple facts wrong.

        Like

  • Stephen Gradijan

    I may have lost something in the translation, but I think this is the German way of saying that we aren’t buying enough Pulisic jerseys and bobblehead dolls.

    Like

  • Petaluman

    I’m certainly paying much more attention to Dortmund because of him. BTW, Wiki claims CP is 18 not 19. Not saying it’s correct, just noting the discrepancy.

    Like

    • Jesse d

      That was the first thing that jumped out at me. This guy doesn’t even know Christian is only 18. Won’t be 19 til September.

      Like

  • Trey

    I am paying more attention to Dortmund and the bundesliga as a whole, but most Americans like the Premier League. It’s marketed way more than any other league save maybe MLS. But FS1 covering the bundesliga is a good thing because it exposes Americans to a different league. It is getting there

    Like

    • Lost in Space

      Personally I prefer the Bundesliga over the EPL. There is a lot of open play (attractive/attacking) up and down the table of the German league, where as in the EPL there are still too many teams who’ll bunker and boom-ball up the field. The German league has also (recently) given more opportunities to US raised players and at least attempt to try and develop the players rather than expecting finished product when signing them.
      The one issue I have with the Bundesliga is that BM really doesn’t have a challenger to their crown. The EPL may have the same 4-5 teams at the top of the table….but most years the champion isn’t crowned until the last week or 2.

      Like

  • Old School

    “Christian Pulisic has the potential to become a global superstar by American standards,” Cramer told Spox. “In the USA, there has been no comparable player.

    Say what you want about Landon Donovan, but if he had a Clint Dempsey’s personality over one like Jordan Morris’, the USA would already have a global superstar by now.

    Donovan had the entire skill package necessary, but fell well short of being a global superstar due to the lack of other intangibles.

    Like

  • jb

    I wish he could just play soccer and not have to worry about Dortmund’s marketing campaign in the US.

    Like

    • johnnyrazor

      He’s saying soccer is a much more popular sport in Japan. Also, you could argue that their stars have had a bigger impact on the professional game. Okazaki has 44 goals in the Bundesliga and EPL and is an EPL Champion, Honda has been a bit of a bust at AC Milan but still has 60+ starts in Serie A (a couple more than MB and with more Serie A goals), and Kagawa has 42 goals for Dortmund and ManU. They’ve been to every WC since 98 and have four Asian Cup Championships since 1992.

      You could make an argument we have a similar playing history, but any country were a reporter asks a player if he thinks the Chicago Fire will win the world cup probably shouldn’t get their panties in a bunch when someone says they don’t have a rich soccer history.

      Like

      • wood chip zip

        He said “history” not “popularity” and by almost any measure the USA has a “bigger” football history than Japan. 10 Men’s World Cup appearances to Japan’s 5, a World Cup third place finish while Japan’s best is the round of 16, 30 points total in WC appearances to Japan’s 16, and 3 Womens World cup titles to Japan’s 1. The USA men’s highest ever and lowest ever FIFA rankings are superior to Japan’s. The two nations have similar accomplishments on the men’s side when it comes to Confederations Cup appearances and their respective confederation titles yet CONCACAF is a more difficult confederation than Asia as demonstrated by the fact that 3 CONCACAF teams have faired better historically in World Cups than Japan. If you want to look at the professional league side, the J League is not better than MLS and Japan has nothing comparable to the old Cosmos inspired NASL or our pro women’s leagues. Yes, a few Japanese male players have faired well at big clubs but you are talking only a few players which can be entirely explained by the subjective nature and dare I say “bias” of player signings.

        But okay let’s go with saying Cramer meant “popularity” of the sport. The US far surpasses Japan in every aspect of soccer participation – total, men, women, youth, college, and school. Yes the US is more populous but nations with less or similar populations (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Germany) to Japan exceed them in participation The average attendance at MLS games is better than the J League, and when the US hosted the World Cup average attendance was 69,000 compared to 42,000 when Japan/Korea hosted.

        Seems pretty clear Cramer was mis translated, is incompetent, or is just another Eurosnob downplaying US soccer’s significance.

        Like

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