How Jude Bellingham Helped Borussia Dortmund Attract New Stewards
An Interview with Mr. Brede Lockhoff, Head of Stewards at Borussia Dortmund
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Brede Lockhoff, Head of Stewards at Borussia Dortmund, ESSMA delves into the world of stewarding at one of Germany's most renowned football clubs. Mr. Lockhoff, with years of experience in football and safety, shares insights into stewarding, recruiting challenges, the changing landscape post-COVID-19, and the role stewards play within Signal Iduna Park.
The output of this interview, together with extensive research that ESSMA did over the past few months, will be presented at the ESSMA Summit 2024 in a seminar session with speakers from Arsenal FC, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Ajax and more. More info here.
Recruitment Challenges and a Successful Campaign Borussia Dortmund, boasting over 80,000 spectators on match days, relies heavily on its team of stewards to ensure the safety and enjoyment of fans. The club faced a significant challenge in making stewarding an attractive option for potential candidates. However, Borussia Dortmund rose to the occasion by launching a successful recruitment campaign, featuring star player Jude Bellingham. This campaign led to approximately 150 [LB1] new stewards applying to join the ranks in just six months.
Demographic Diversity and COVID-19 Impact While the campaign successfully attracted new stewards, there hasn't been a significant shift in demographic diversity among stewards. Interestingly, fan behaviour has evolved following the pandemic, with a newfound sensitivity in crowded spaces and increased incidents related to discarded items. In response to these changes, Borussia Dortmund adapted by providing short training sessions on relevant behaviours and protective equipment to ensure safety.
Steward Selection and Training The selection process for stewards at Borussia Dortmund takes into account language skills and a Certificate of Good Conduct. Stewards undergo initial training focusing on service, safety, and familiarisation with the stadium's layout. They also receive annual training to maintain their skills. Internal stewards, trained specifically for the club, tend to offer better service compared to external hires.
Costs and Industry Standards To provide perspective on stewarding costs, Borussia Dortmund invests approximately €1.2 million annually in its steward program. This financial commitment covers approximately 600 stewards for a year and includes wages, materials, and training. The competitive pay of around €13.50 per hour serves as an attractive incentive for potential stewards. However, a standardised system to address wage variations across Europe is a challenging but intriguing proposition.
Retention Strategies and the Face of the Club Borussia Dortmund's steward program sees an annual turnover of about 50 stewards, which aligns with their goal of maintaining a pool of around 800 [LB2] stewards. The club plans to increase steward numbers further through a new campaign. Beyond financial incentives, Borussia Dortmund recognises and rewards stewards by organising a kiosk with exclusive food and drink offers.
Stewards at Borussia Dortmund are not just safety providers; they are also the face of the club and the first point of contact for fans. While they excel in delivering exceptional service, they must also manage situations that require security measures. Balancing these roles remains a vital challenge.
In conclusion, the interview with Mr. Brede Lockhoff provides valuable insights into stewarding at Borussia Dortmund, emphasising the importance of recruitment campaigns, diverse fan behaviour, the effectiveness of in-house stewards, costs, retention strategies, and the multi-faceted role stewards play in enhancing the fan experience.