KNVB Expertise German Stadium Exploitation Tour supported by ESSMA

ESSMA supported KNVB Expertise with a Stadium Exploitation Tour to three German stadiums: Commerzbank Arena, Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion and Opel Arena. KNVB Expertise is a joint initiative consisting of Eredivisie CV, CED, KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) and FBO (Federation of Paid Football Organisations). Their aim is to professionalise Dutch (paid) football in terms of development.

In total 48 delegates from 15 Eredivisie and Jupiler League clubs participated in the tour. The focus was on Commercial Exploitation where each visited stadium has a different owner structure (club, private or city). 

"One of the success factors of this tour was the inspiration from other stadiums for our own project and exchanging knowledge with our stadium colleagues."

Christiaan De Jong, Commercial Manager SC Cambuur

Eintracht Frankfurt Commerzbank Arena – Multifunctional Stadium

OwnerCity of Frankfurt
OperatorStadion Frankfurt Management GmbH

The Commerzbank Arena is operated by Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH, a privately owned company. Patrick Meyer, CEO Commerzbank Arena explained the cooperation with Eintracht Frankfurt and the multifunctional use and management of the stadium.

Key points:

  • Impact of the new stadium: more revenue due to increase in non-matchday events and a higher average attendance compared to the old Waldstadion (almost doubled to 46,434) 
  • Multifunctional stadium with a dedicated summer events programme: e-sports, drive-in cinema, handball game, corporate events, Monster Jam, public viewing, etc.
  • Find events which are held annually, less time-consuming and steady revenue stream e.g. World Club Dome
  • Retractable roof: can be used on non-matchday events in case of bad weather conditions
  • 35 - 40% of revenue is non-matchday related
  • One of the success factors was involving the stadium operator (Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH) early in the development project 

Kickers Offenbach Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion - Lower division stadium with large capacity

OwnerCity of Offenbach
OperatorCity of Offenbach

Kickers Offenbach play in the German Regionalliga (similar to fourth division). CEO of Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion Andreas Herzog showcased the key aspects of the stadium with an in-depth Q&A session.

Key points:

  • Fans were part of the commission leading the stadium development project
  • Cost-effective development of the stadium with a €25.000.000 investment

1. FSV Mainz 05 Opel Arena - An ecological approach

Owner1. FSV Mainz 05
Operator1. FSV Mainz 05

Stephan Bandholz, Stadium Manager 1. FSV Mainz 05 gave insights into the Opel Arena development process and effective sustainability initiatives

Key facts of Opel Arena:

  • Designated seats and actions on different segments e.g. kids, VIP and disabled people (both away and home fans are welcome in the non-smoking family stand)
  • On average 300 events per year on non-match days 
  • Ecological approach with lots of initiatives e.g. only green electricity, each season a car free matchday, photovoltaic systems, etc.
  • Involvement and dialogue with farmers and neighbours during stadium development project 

"It was interesting to learn about the process in switching from their old to the new stadium. At Willem II, we are in the process of developing a new stadium without much knowledge. Therefore, knowledge sharing in a crucial step in the process to learn from others."

Berry Van Gool - Managing Director Willem II

Overall key takeaways of the Stadium Exploitation Tour:

  • Stakeholder management from an early stage in the stadium development projects, especially with a third party operator
  • Pro-active approach in the organisation of events by showcasing the possibilities of your stadium
  • Look at other stadiums and venues for inspiration e.g. host other sports events (a handball game or ice hockey in the Commerzbank Arena)
  • The importance of knowledge sharing between clubs and stadiums e.g. benchmark

ESSMA league members looking to organise a stadium tour for its members can ask our support. Last November, LFP organised a Belgian Stadium Tour with the support of our extensive stadium network.

Interview with Berry Van Gool, Managing Director Willem II about his impression of this Stadium Exploitation Tour and their stadium project:

Interview with Christiaan De Jong, Commercial Manager SC Cambuur on the importance of knowledge sharing and his experience of the tour: