Photo: CEV

Men’s volleyball in and from Berlin has been a story of success in Germany for years now and is appreciated in entire Europe these days – at the latest since the city was announced the host of the Champions League Final Four on March 28-29. But how have BERLIN Recycling Volleys actually managed to reinvent and establish themselves on the highly competitive sports market of the German capital city?

Volleyball in Berlin is continuously booming. The sporting successes and the constantly high attendance figures prove this development. On average 4’684 fans wended their way to the Bundesliga matches in ‘volleyball temple’ Max-Schmeling-Halle last season. Even more joined the matches in the CEV Champions League. On average 4’827 supporters came to see their favourites in the three preliminary phase matches. Considering the high spectator interest BERLIN Recycling Volleys can aspire to fill the entire arena for both days of the 2015 Final Four. Klaus-Peter Jung, chairperson of the German national league, says: “The BR Volleys are the engine for volleyballs’ development in Germany.”

 

However, volleyball in Berlin has not always been a sure-fire success. Only five years ago the playoff matches in the German national league took place in front of round about 1’000 spectators in a sports hall in Berlin Charlottenburg – unimaginable these days as 8’000 fans and more attend the final games today. 

Since 2006, BERLIN club president Kaweh Niroomand and marketing manager Matthias Klee have been developing the brand and re-positioning volleyball in Germany’s capital. “Everything was black and white before – literally, as these are the traditional club colours of the home club SC Charlottenburg”, Klee says. “We are still very proud to be a part of the SCC family. But when positioning us as SCC Berlin we sought for more attention with a new and individual logo and further wanted to create awareness with a new name.” Playing in orange jerseys starting in the season 2007/08 – factually – colour came into play. Not much longer and the first match at Max-Schmeling-Halle was played. Attended by nearly 5’000 spectators the match against evivo DÜREN on November 18, 2008 has heralded the start of a new era for the club.

 

Moving into the modern multi-functional arena – for the beginning for three top matches only – also paved the way for being considered when the town’s top sports clubs (Hertha and Union – football, ALBA – basketball, Füchse – handball, Eisbären – hockey) founded the “Sportmetropole Berlin”, an initiative to join forces with the other big players in the sports business in town in order to raise awareness for sporting events. “At that time we needed to decide on whether trying to jump on the bandwagon of the big five or losing the contact”, Niroomand says retrospectively. Since then BR Volleys’ visionary and progressive thinker constantly sits together with the managers of the other top sports clubs to launch projects in town. Being part of the prominent round of top sports managers creates awareness. Additionally, BR Volleys benefit from the other team’s experiences – not for nothing BERLIN Recycling Volleys are – alongside with VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFNRN – considered the most professionalized club in Germany.

 

The title sponsor Berlin Recycling, that purchased the naming right in 2011, proved themselves as a further stroke of luck for the club. Not least of all through the strong cooperation the club is reinventing itself constantly. It was a challenging job to activate the cooperation between a recycling company and a volleyball club. “The new name and the brands’ complete re-launch needed to be communicated to fans, media and other sponsors”, Klee remembers. The challenge was stepped up and even acknowledged by the renowned honouring of the “Sports Marketing Award”, an acknowledgement of the best marketing campaigns in the German sports business and where BR Volleys claimed the third rank. Further honours followed: In 2013 the club was voted the “Team of the Year” in the city of Berlin, Kaweh Niroomand was honoured “Best Manager” in town one year later.

With one new idea after another the BR Volleys’ management has turned volleyball matches in the city’s cult district Prenzlauer Berg into a real spectacle. In 2014, after claiming the third consecutive German national title, club president Kaweh Niroomand said: “For years now, we have been trying with a sense for proportion to invest not solely in the sporting development, but also in the club’s infrastructure. This is the basis for presenting volleyball on such a high level as we do.” German national league chairperson Jung goes into raptures: “The events at Max-Schmeling-Halle, the development of professional management structures and the brands’ successful anchoring in Berlin and Germany are exemplary.”

Besides the elusively high commitment Niroomand, Klee & Co are supported by the marketing agency “Steilpass”. The Stuttgart-based firm and partner of the title sponsor Berlin Recycling has initiated the club’s marketing campaign “Berlin plays volleyball” with the “Urban Volley Court”, a mobile court that was invented for BR Volleys. “The BERLIN Recycling Volleys have shown that volleyball does not need to hide from other sports disciplines. With their visons alongside with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit the club managed to lift volleyball into a new dimension on a challenging Berlin sports market”, Jung says.

The combination of a highly professional appearance, hard work behind the scenes and a successful team including numerous role models with recognition factor have turned BERLIN Recycling Volleys within a few years into one of the hippest volleyball locations not only in Germany but in entire Europe – at the latest since the city was announced the host of the Champions League Final Four on March 28-29.

 

All information on the CEV Champions League Final Four on March, 28-29 in Berlin:

Website | www.berlin2015.br-volleys.de

Facebook | www.facebook.com/CLfinal4

 

 

Matthias Klee