52 minutes | Mar 15, 2021

Karan Tejwani: How Red Bull created a football group

The development of "football groups" is a relatively recent and controversial phenomenon. The pioneer has been City Football Group, which started with the acquisition of Manchester City and has since bought significant stakes in clubs in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.The Red Bull group has been constructed a different way, with the energy drink company taking over teams in Salzburg, New York, Brazil, Ghana and, most controversially, Leipzig between 2005 and 2010 after earlier forays into F1 and extreme sports.Both groups have been criticised for throwing money at footballing success but the Red Bull clubs are often dismissed as a marketing exercise and labelled with one of the most damning words in the supporters’ lexicon - plastic.Last year, Karan Tejwani published Wings of Change: How the World’s Biggest Energy Drink Manufacturer Made a Mark in Football. In this podcast, we discuss the business the meaning and the lessons behind Red Bull’s football story.TOPICSWhy did they get into football? After going with his local club Salzburg, why did Dietrich Mateschitz expand to New York, Brazil, Ghana and Leipzig?The marketing link in India and GoaIs it just about selling drinks?Why are they so criticised? The particular criticism of RB Leipzig - the name and the ownership structure Why the German fans have maintained a special intensity around RB Leipzig How have RB Leipzig grown off the pitch and are they popular in Saxony? Are the East German roots of RB Leipzig are a factor too?The importance of Ralf Rangnick to the RB Leipzig story?His three Cs - Capital, Concept and Competence Getting success in taking players out of Africa The common philosophy across all the clubs on the pitchAre RB Leipzig the No1 and the others just feeder clubs?Their reaction to the criticismThe comparisons to Man City and City Football GroupIs there a difference with other brands backing clubs? Fiat and Juventus, Phillips and PSV, VW and Wolfsburg etc?Does their lack of history allow a culture of speedy innovation?Would and should RB Leipzig get into a remodelled European Super League if it were to be introduced? Why have they not moved into SE Asia?Are the Red Bull group inspired others? Have all these football acquisitions actually grown the Red Bull brand? What would the reaction be in German football if RB Leipzig won the Champions League?
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