Soccer: The next casualty of the VW scandal? – CNBC
The link between VW, the club, its fans and players is inextricable. Wolfsburg’s stadium is called the Volkswagen Arena; the VW logo is emblazoned across the club’s shirts; many of the team’s fans are also VW employees.
“We had cars from Volkswagen that were given to us. We had so many things from Volkswagen, so the link is not hidden, it is just there,” former Wolfsburg forward Jonathan Akpoborie told the BBC’s World Service earlier this week. Akpoborie went on to add that Volkswagen was “the backbone of Wolfsburg.”
As well as the potential impacts on Wolfsburg, other teams in the German Bundesliga could also be impacted.
“It is likely that other German clubs will be affected by the scandal also,” Tom Markham, head of strategic business development at Sports Interactive, told CNBC over email. “As well as owning VfL Wolfsburg, the group has strategic stakes in Bayern Munich and Ingolstadt,” he added.
Bayern Munich is one of Germany’s most decorated football clubs and boasts a star-studded side, while in 2015 Ingolstadt were promoted to the Bundesliga – Germany’s top division – for the first time in their history. VW has the stakes in the clubs through subsidiary Audi.
Markham explained that Volkswagen also had commercial deals with other German clubs and sponsored Germany’s cup competition. “It’s difficult to envisage these not being impacted given the financial strain VW will face in the future.”