German soccer giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have both announced plans to replace their respective summer tours of Asia with a series of digital events.
Both Bundesliga clubs have confirmed that they will be staying in Europe in August as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on schedules and travel plans.
Instead, Bayern will allow international fans to follow the team’s 2020/21 pre-season preparations in real-time via the club’s digital platforms between 25th July and 2nd August, including virtual autograph sessions, virtual fan challenges and interactive sessions with players.
The Audi Digital Summer Tour, which will be delivered in collaboration with the club’s official automobile partner, will also include in-house coverage of a preseason friendly against an unnamed opponent at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “As we are unfortunately unable to go on the Audi Summer Tour this year as planned, and as normal for so many years, we have now created this global digital initiative together with our partner Audi, to maintain and nurture the worldwide bond of the FC Bayern family, particularly during this period of the coronavirus pandemic. Our fans across the globe can look forward to exciting content on our platforms.”
Bayern's announcement followed that of rivals Borussia Dortmund, who have also revealed plans for a BVB Virtual Asia Tour.
Designed in collaboration with the club’s Chinese offices in Shanghai and Singapore, the initiative will allow fans to livestream training sessions and friendly games, as well take part in several interactive events with players.
Dortmund’s managing director Carsten Cramer said: “Many fans and partners from the region were in touch with us saying that they still wanted to get as close to the players as possible, especially in this most difficult of situations.
“This inspired us to strengthen our digital communications from Dortmund to Asia in close cooperation with our office locations in Singapore and Shanghai as part of our preparations for the 2020/21 Bundesliga season.”