Club Crawl: Südkurve Toronto
First we will present the key facts about every fan club. Then the fan club will get to tell us a little bit about themselves. We have sent a special questionnaire consisting of fourteen questions to every club and asked them to answer eight of them. We also asked them to send us pictures that represent their fan club which will be featured throughout the article.
|Chairman||Ryan Tune, Jimmy Czikk (Vice)|
|Location||International Sports Bar & Eatery, 2480 Cawthra Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada|
|Distance to Munich||6624 km|
|Social Media||Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
Tell us the story of how your fan club was founded and what the fan club means to you and your members.
Südkurve Toronto was founded in 2016 out of the need for one thing: to gather FC Bayern supporters in the Greater Toronto Area (the ‘GTA’) to enjoy a few weißbier and cheer on the best football club in the world. For those unfamiliar with football in Canada, it’s typically the English Premier League that’s shown on TV. Having to visit a chain restaurant or English pub and ask them to show a Bundesliga match usually didn’t yield much success. We formed the club because so many of us were individually facing that same struggle. This was so common that when the club first started, we would all trade stories about how difficult it was to find a spot to watch FC Bayern! However, Südkurve Toronto has definitely evolved into much more than that. We are now in our third year and it feels more like a family than a football fanclub. In addition to match viewings we regularly host a Christmas Party, end of season BBQ and other events such as foot golf and indoor football kickabouts for our members. While a large chunk of our members come from Bavarian or German roots (we have a lot of members from Germany proper too), we’ve been able to compliment that with a broad group of people that come from all over. Toronto is after all one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Where and how do you watch Bayern games? Do you have any special traditions (e.g. chants, food, beer, etc.) that you follow on matchday?
We watch all our matches at International Sports Bar & Eatery in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. We’ve been really fortunate to find a great establishment that takes care of us (shout out to Lorenzo, Cathy and the staff) and most importantly is able to show EVERY FC Bayern match live. We have a specially reserved area at the back of the bar just for our fanclub and it’s fully decked out in Bayern kits, flags and gear that our members have been able to provide from home and their travels. Additionally, we have Paulaner Weißbier and Hacker-Pschorr Helles on tap to make our viewing experience all the more special. Our members are regularly fired up for matches and when things really get going, you can hear them singing songs and/or screaming at the top of their lungs when we score. There is absolutely no doubt who runs the joint when Bayern are playing!
Which event of your fan club are you most proud of?
We’ve had a few events that have been pretty special. We were fortunate enough to host the FC Bayern New York Office last year and were just the second fanclub they visited in North America, which is a great testament to the passion of our members and what they bring week in, week out. The Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League trophies were all on display and Berni was also there to fire up the crowd. It was an awesome day!
Another great event we were able to put together was our Danke Basti match, in which 60+ members came out to watch when the Chicago Fire visited Toronto. For a lot of our members he’s been a very special player and it was incredible to see him come and play in Toronto. Finally we hosted a “German Football Day in Toronto” with the St. Pauli Toronto fanclub and the German Consulate of Toronto. FC Bayern’s supporters have a strong fan relationship with St. Pauli so it was a great opportunity to extend that same relationship across the ocean here in Toronto.
How often do you or your fan club members get to Munich?
We’ve had a regular stream of members going to Munich for matches since our inception, which is something we’re really proud of. Since 2016, we’ve had 20+ members make the trip, primarily for home matches at the Allianz, but a few for away days both in the Bundesliga and also the Champions League. Our members have seen matches against Augsburg, BVB, Freiburg, Hertha, RB Leipzig, VfB, Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg, Celtic, Besiktas and Paris St. Germain. We’ve even had members go and see the amateurs play at the old Grünwalder Stadion! Additionally, we’ve run two trips down to the U.S. for the International Champions Cup in both New York City and this past summer in Philadelphia. Obviously when FC Bayern are a little closer to home, it’s a great opportunity for our members to see the club. We’re really hoping they can make it to Toronto some day soon as well, because you know what fanclub will be leading all the bouncing up and down in the stands.
Which German cultural tradition is most embraced by your fan club?
That would probably be Oktoberfest (yes we know that’s a distinctively south German tradition). Every year in Toronto there’s a big celebration with a tent, band and authentic German beer and we regularly book about six or seven tables for our members and their families. Naturally, we are by far the loudest and rowdiest group there. In terms of other club traditions we host a regular Christmas party for our members complete with Glühwein and a schnitzel dinner. It’s also great because our members regularly contribute dishes and desserts from their own backgrounds, and of course it’s all washed down with a few beers. We’ve also done a Maifest in the past and of course we always wear our lederhosen!
Do you interact with other fan clubs and if yes, how?
We interact regularly with other fan clubs, typically through Twitter but also through Instagram and Facebook. Anytime we catch wind of a member visiting another city or country that has an official supporters club we’ll reach out and try to connect them, ideally for a match viewing if there’s one being played. We’ve had members go all across the USA (Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee) and even as far as Mexico and Cuba. We absolutely love it when our members get the chance to meet up with fellow FC Bayern supporters while abroad so we always do our best to make that connection happen where possible.
How do you stay active in your community? How do you attract new members?
Our main way of staying connected is through all our social media accounts, unsurprisingly this is the best way to get in touch with people not only here in Toronto but across Canada and the world. We’ve built up a strong social media following and when people hear we have German beer on tap it’s really no question where people want to watch FC Bayern if they’re in the GTA! We really push hard to share stories and photos of our members through our hashtag #SKTonTour and it’s funny when people say that they were recognized with their Südkurve Toronto shirt on in the city or while abroad. As a result, we regularly have people reach out to us to hear more about what our fanclub is about and how to sign up, it’s as easy as that.
What games are the most fun and/or draw the most people to your watch parties?
Matches against any of the Traditionsverein are always a big draw – Gladbach, VfB and of course BVB. We also love a good Bavarian derby and can’t wait for the upcoming match against Der Klub in December. Those matches are typically evening matches in Germany which means a lunchtime kickoff for us which is perfect. We’re also big fans of the Pokal (we weren’t joking when we said we watch EVERY FC Bayern match!) and of course no one can forget about those special European nights. Lately we’ve been facing Spanish opposition in a few different forms but I don’t think anyone, FC Bayern supporter or not, can deny that when Bayern face Real or United it’s one of the biggest matches on the continent.
Next up is the Bayern India Fan Club from India.