Even in football, nobody will be able to do without digitalization.
As a Stuttgart fan into the Neckar Stadium
My personal arena experience in the 1991/92 season? That’s pretty simple. When I was driving home from Stuttgart to Ulm early Saturday evening and the VfB had won, it was a good experience. When the club had lost? Not so much anymore. And if it were a draw? Well, it depended on the opponent. Bundesliga football was pretty pure back then. The arena in the Bad Cannstatt neighborhood was called Neckarstadion. A red track surrounded the field. I was 16 years old back then.
We wanted to get the 100 km between Ulm and Stuttgart behind us as fast as possible – and yet, we ended up in a traffic jam. The freeway was very basic that days. We parked somewhere near the arena and walked to the stands. The Swabian bratwurst was part of the ritual. And victories basically too, because that was one great ball season for the VfB.
Digital Allianz Arena
Of course, my relationship with football today has changed at Siemens. I am looking at pro-football from a different angle because our collaboration with FC Bayern München is designed to specifically operate the Allianz Arena as efficiently and sustainably as possible thanks to digitalization. Climate change, the scarcity of resources, dematerialization – all issues which we feel every day in our society, which also have long since arrived at FC Bayern.
What do young people think?
In the discussions with younger people about football, I realize that there is still a lot that was important to me earlier – especially a football experience as pure as possible with the best players. Max and Matthias are dual students at Siemens, and they are fans of FC Bayern. We shot three video clips with them in the Allianz Arena and showed them our projects there. They could feel how far digitalization has advanced at FCB. When I ask them what makes their stadium experience so special, it is the shared experience: “It is an amazing feeling to cheer on a game with several thousand people and witness the energy in the stadium,” says Matthias. Of course, both miss that in the times of the pandemic.
Sustainability in the football stadium
The generation of Matthias and Max in particular also asks us critical questions. They want to know what happens next. They want to shape the present and change the future. We discussed whether we do more than use the celebrity factor of Bayern for Siemens – which of course we do in regard to our brand. Matthias said to me: “I would like to see a change towards a sustainable future, which can be driven, among other things, by increasing digitalization. There has to be a balance between people, the environment and profit. Profit, yes, but sustainable and for the good of society.”
Sustainability as an identification feature
That’s what Siemens stands for, I replied and backed it up with examples. Sure, it’s ‘just’ football, but the knowledge about a visit as resource-efficient as possible contributes to the stadium experience. And it is precisely in these times that Siemens is taking responsibility worldwide. And, this is also an important social commitment. For example, we have raised 15 million euros through the Covid-19 fund ‘Siemens Caring Hands’ to help where help is needed. Matthias and Max are impressed when they hear about such projects. On the other hand, that’s what they expect from our company: “Siemens has a great focus on sustainability. We want to be climate neutral by 2030. It is constantly being researched and developed. We also share these values,” say the two of them. No question about it, the younger generation is confident when it comes to choosing an employer. They want to help shape. Get involved.
Transform everyday life
It is important to us at Siemens that we not only benefit our “customer” FC Bayern, but also society. We want to shape our company alongside products and solutions. We want to help our customers to manage that transformation of the everyday life – that is our vision. Together with the FCB we are heading to the future. We will continue our cooperation with the record champion. By the way, in my attitude towards football, I’m pretty close to Max and Matthias. At Siemens, we’re looking for ways to make football as exciting, interesting, but also sustainable as possible for everyone involved. So, that the joy of sport and winning can be carefree in the foreground. Like in May 1992, when Guido Buchwald headed VfB Stuttgart to the championship.