Hertha 4.0 – How to break a record in a crowd-lending campaign?

It is common knowledge that Germany is one of the biggest football countries in the history. Germany national football selection has clinched a total of 18 World Cup and European Championship medals (seven of which were gold medals), they went through to semi-finals on six occasions in last seven big events (since the 2002 World Cup) and reached their peak two years ago in Brazil by defeating Argentina in the World Cup Finals.

Besides the great national selection, Germany also has one of the best football leagues in the world, currently placed second on Uefa rankings for clubs competitions. Not only that, but Germain Bundesliga has the highest average attendance of all European leagues with an average of 90 percent of the overall stadium capacity filled every match.

“Over the last few years, professional football in Germany has used its solid financial foundations to achieve outstanding sporting results” – Christian Seifert, Bundesliga CEO

Average Bundesliga match attendance during 2014/15 season

One of the reasons for that is certainly the lowest ticket prices out of all Europe’s five major leagues and the fact that German clubs think of their fans as sacred. All the clubs in German Bundesliga (except the company clubs Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg and the only exception TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) are in the control of their members who hold at least 51% stake in the club as a non-profit, democratic entity, while investors can own not more than 49% of the club. Thus, Germain clubs depend on their members and supporters.

Hertha 4.0

In addition to dominating in the green field, Germans want to ensure the primacy in the area of digitalization. Recently, FC Bayern München has revealed their ambitious project „Digital 4.0“ with the aim to become the world’s leading team in the field of digitalization. The Berlin-based club, Hertha BSC recently entered a similar project, but with something that no professional club in Germany had ever tried.

They started a „crowd-lending“ campaign. The club asked their fans to lend them between 100 and 10,000 Euros to reach a target of one million Euros. The money will earn interests at 4.5 percent and will be paid back to the investors after three years. Also, investors will take part in a draw, and they can receive some bonuses such as a VIP tour of the stadium in Berlin. The name of the campaign is „Hertha 4.0“ and action started on March 19, 2016 and it was fully funded only 9 minutes and 23 seconds after it started and set a new record in „crowd-lending“ campaigns in Europe!

„This investment opportunity fits perfectly with the orientation of our association to drive the digital transformation at Hertha. Innovative, strong, modern and future-proof – this is Berlin, and that’s Hertha BSC. We want our fans to participate in Hertha Berlin growth. With a very contemporary model: online, mobile and direct.“ – Ingo Schiller, Hertha Head of Finances.

“The long-term goal of the club’s management is to establish the capital club in the city of creative ideas and young, digital startups as an innovative digital football club. The association will be more tangible for its fans and partners” – Ingo Schiller, Hertha Head of Finances.

Hertha launched this „crowd-lending“ campaign on the Kapilendo platform, a startup company from Berlin, for two reasons, and money is neither of them. Hertha’s last season budget was around 88.5 million Euros so it shouldn’t be a problem for them to invest one million of their budget into a project „Hertha 4.0“. But, with this initiative, they want to make a stronger connection with their current fans, who will have great benefits from this project, and secondly, Berlin is also known for being the German capital of start-ups and innovations. With this campaign they want to achieve new sympathizers, they want to connect with the modern client.

With the project Hertha 4.0, the Berliners want to improve their official website and their presence on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Snapchat. Also, they want to create a newsletter with personalised content so that every fan gets a different one, depending on where they live. So, a subscriber from Berlin won’t get the same content as the one living in Nürnberg, United States or China.

Their goal is also to create a modern, user-friendly online shop; to buy the player GPS tracking system Wyscout to help improve their scouting department and Hertha’s fitness staff to track their player’s performance more precisely.

In conclusion, they want to upgrade their digital communication and change the connection with their public dramatically. Besides that, Hertha is a German Bundesliga’s pioneer club whose coach and manager Michael Preetz created a private Twitter account to communicate with fans on social networks.

Conclusion

Hertha has made an excellent move with this initiative. They want to upgrade their digitalization level to be alongside the German giants Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund, and simultaneously create a greater bond with the club and its supporters all over the world.

Hertha 2, Flickr

Hertha is a club with a great tradition, founded back in 1892, and is currently third in the German Bundesliga and playing semifinals of the DFB Cup after 35 years.

In the end, with project „Hertha 4.0“ the club has enabled its fans and investors to participate in the growth of the club to a higher level, from which the most benefits will have those same fans.

Niko Rukavina

Niko Rukavina

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at niko@promoovertime.com

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