That Bayer Leverkusen would become a byword for sporting achievement, and Leverkusen a "citadel of sport" was actually never the company's original intention. The idea of establishing a company sports club came from the employees themselves at the beginning of the 20th century and arose simply from the desire to use their leisure time constructively.
The First Club
Women and girls doing gymnastics.
The management readily agreed to the request for a sports club to be set up, because Bayer's plant was isolated in a "no-man's land" between the Cologne suburb of Mülheim and the village of Wiesdorf, with no infrastructure and no facilities for the creative use of leisure time. Thus, it was on July 1, 1904 that the "Turn- und Spielverein der Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co." was founded - the first Bayer sports club of any kind to be established in Germany.
As the company grew, sports became increasingly important: the initial commitment to purely recreational sport almost inevitably led to participation in sport at the championship level, as Bayer athletes naturally strove to improve their performances. The company readily responded to its employees' demands for an ever wider range of sporting activities, and eventually developed into one of the biggest funders of sport in Germany.
The first Bayer sports club was founded on July 1, 1904
Amateurs Become Professionals
The SV Bayer soccer team has been wearing the Bayer cross on their shirts since 1936.
The initial commitment to purely recreational sport almost inevitably led to participation in sport at the elite level, as Bayer athletes naturally strove to improve their performances.