Whenever you see a football team arriving at the stadium on TV, one thing is always prominent: their team bus. This makes football clubs attractive partners for bus manufacturers and a perfect environment for emotional branding. Magnus Weiand used to look after these partnerships on behalf of the teams. These days, he is in charge of MAN’s sponsorships.
Meeting famous players in football stadiums, overseeing photoshoots, and being involved in filming projects: people’s eyes often light up when Magnus Weiand starts talking about his job. “But this is only a small part of what I do,” the 33-year-old explains with a grin. Weiand is a sponsoring and event specialist at MAN. “Of course, the main focus of my job is on showcasing our products in conjunction our partners — this does also mean I get to meet football players,” Weiand continues. “But sponsorships also entail a lot of administrative tasks. I take care of compliance and taxation issues as well, for example.”
Weiand first became interested in a career in the sports industry when he was a student, doing internships at football clubs. His first stop was the MSV Duisburg, followed by six months in marketing at Borussia Dortmund. When the club’s head of marketing transferred to 1860 Munich, he offered Weiand the chance to come on board as his assistant. This is how the sponsorship expert, who is originally from North Rhine-Westphalia, found himself in Bavaria. After two and a half years at 1860 Munich, he got an opportunity to try something new: when his boss left the club, Weiand stayed in Munich and joined its sponsor MAN. “I was happy to get the chance to discover the other side of this job,” Weiand says. Working at MAN has a particular appeal for him: “Our buses give us as a sponsor a natural access to team sports. Other companies often only work with one team.” One of the teams MAN works with is FC Bayern Munich: whenever you see the players arrive at the stadium on TV, you can always spot the MAN bus in the background. “Some brands have a much higher budget than we do. But even they are often jealous of how wide-ranging our sponsorships are,” Weiand explains proudly.
The MAN specialist also keeps in touch with colleagues from the Volkswagen Group, for example during the regular Group Sponsoring Round Table events or the Volkswagen Football Summit. “We discuss the needs and invitations to bid we have in common, for instance when it comes to perimeter advertising in stadiums. This generates cost savings and ensures a uniform image for sports sponsorships.” Weiand is also in regular contact with colleagues working for MAN’s international brands in the respective countries. He believes it is important to let go of his German perspective as part of this process: “We often tend to only see things from our own point of view,” Weiand explains, before adding that exchanging ideas with people from other countries and cultures gives us a different perspective. “In Central Europe, for example, football works well as the primary platform for sponsorships. This is not the case in South Africa, though — rugby has the edge.” His tip: “The last thing you want to do is sit in your ivory tower and prescribe concepts.” For him, one of the main advantages of a company like MAN is being able to learn from international colleagues.
Despite what he does for a living, Weiand does not play football himself. “I did once play in a club for a year, but it was badminton, not football,” he explains. These days, he enjoys playing tennis and skiing in winter. He has new skis down in the cellar ready to go, but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that they are still waiting for their debut. Weiand’s other true passion is cooking, which is something he loves to celebrate — investing a lot of time and making it into an event. On the menu tonight is saddle of venison. Preparing and searing the meat and adding the gravy will take a couple of hours. “I love trying out new recipes. Either something tastes good or it does not.” And if it is the latter? “Then you just make it taste good,” Weiand laughs. Sometimes, you have to deviate from the recipe to get a good result. This is where Weiand’s hobby and his job have a lot in common.