Bayern Munich sure loves Texas.
Last year, the German club partnered with FC Dallas to create a player-development program. Bayern has brought a number of Americans over on loan from the MLS club, even signing 18-year-old Chris Richards earlier this month.
So perhaps it’s of no surprise that Bayern Munich, which has the largest fan base of any German club, linked up with the best fan base in Texas, perhaps the entire country: Texas A&M. (If it's not the best, it's certainly the most unique.)
The above video, posted to YouTube by Bayern Munich, follows Texas A&M senior Colin Brennan, a student-manager for the Aggies’ women’s soccer team. Brennan attends a Bayern Munich match at the Allianz Arena, connecting it to the game-day experience in College Station, Texas, where Texas A&M traditions feel more akin to a cult than a college team. Featured in the video is the Aggies’ 74-72 win over LSU back in November, which set a record for most points in a college football game (mostly because it went into seven overtimes).
The video does a great job linking the two fan bases, calling them the two greatest fan cultures in sports. I tend to agree, though as a Texas A&M graduate who visited the Allianz Arena on a study abroad trip while attending the school, I’m a bit biased. (For the record, in a story on which soccer team to support based on your college football allegiances, we paired Texas A&M with Newcastle United and Bayern Munich with Oklahoma.)
As the video states, nothing in the world compares to the devotion of European soccer fans, except American college football fans (and South American soccer fans, before you @ me).
Both organizations have similar mottos. In Germany, it’s “Mia San Mia” — We are who we are. In Aggieland, it’s “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.”
Texas A&M students, called the 12th Man (which the school trademarked and forces the Seattle Seahawks pay royalties to use), stand for the entirety of a football game, only sitting at halftime and only after the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band has played. There’s a saying in Aggieland: “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it; from the inside look out, you can’t explain it.”
Both fan bases are extremely passionate and share many similarities, but there are also a number of differences. For one, the Aggies don’t exactly win much. Bayern has won 28 league titles and five Champions Leagues; Texas A&M has 18 conference titles, but none since 1998. It’s lone AP national championship came in 1939. (Actually, Aggies never lose; they just run out of time.) The fact Texas A&M still pulls in 100,000+ to football games every week despite never really being that great says a lot about the fan base compared to the German fans who expect their team to win every year.
Nonetheless, both teams fill their massive stadiums week after week. Kyle Field holds 102,733 fans, the biggest in the SEC; Allianz Arena holds 75,024, biggest in Germany.
The video is narrated by Fernando Palomo, a Texas A&M graduate and ESPN broadcaster who is the Spanish voice of the FIFA video game series.