Tim Jost: “We realized that we could make a difference together and develop something together in the German and Japanese markets”

Before their remarkable ‘miracle playoff’ victory that secured their Bundesliga status, VfL Bochum was already laying the groundwork for an ambitious international expansion. The club announced strategic partnerships with Júbilo Iwata and the Japanese cosmetics company, Toshin Kagaku. These collaborations, which are a key part of their strategy to extend their global presence, particularly in the Japanese market, highlight VfL Bochum’s commitment to broadening its international footprint.

FBIN had the opportunity to speak with Tim Jost, Director of Marketing & Sales, to gain further insights into these strategic decisions.

Insights from Tim Jost

What key factors influenced the choice of Júbilo Iwata as your next international partner?

We were looking for a club that embodied the values and views of our VfL Bochum. In discussions with Júbilo Iwata, it quickly became clear that they also have a focus on developing players and want to develop the employees, the staff and the club as a whole.

We realized that we could make a difference together and develop something together in the German and Japanese markets. An initial exchange in the youth sector has already taken place and was very well received by everyone involved.

Besides sporting knowledge and player exchanges, are there any commercial plans for this key market?

We have been working on our strategy for the Japanese market for a long time and have already visited and welcomed visitors from Japan in 2023.

Of course, commercial revenue is important for the development of the club and the strategy in the target market. We hope to increase the relevance and visibility of the Bundesliga and VfL in particular in the market. With more relevance and visibility, it would be a goal to convince sponsors of our path. But it is also important here that the advertising partners are interested in our idea and philosophy.

Can you share upcoming activities planned after this collaboration, especially in business or off-the-pitch activities?

There is an exchange on training content and in the near future there will also be an exchange on marketing-related topics. I am also looking forward to learning more about ticketing in the Japanese market and discussing the insights from our market with my colleagues.

Considering Japan’s unique culture, what preparations are made to enter and nurture this collaboration?

It was important for us to familiarize ourselves intensively with the culture and processes in the market before our first trip. To this end, we had intensive discussions with colleagues who live in the market (e.g. Chamber of Foreign trade, Consulate, etc.). For us, it’s a matter of course to familiarize ourselves with the people and the culture in order to build trust. The mentality of hard work, education and a long-term approach is essential for this.

For more details on VfL Bochum’s international growth, check out the full coverage here.


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