As reported by Kicker Sportmagazin and Bild, Fortuna Dusseldorf are planning a ticket revolution in German professional football.
The Bundesliga 2. club wants to grant all spectators free admission to home games next season. This plan emerged from a letter sent by the two-time DFB Pokal winners to its sponsors.
The Düsseldorf team has invited spectators to a press conference on Wednesday – it remains to be seen whether the new plans will be presented in detail at the conference.
However, Alexander Jobst (CEO), Klaus Allofs (Sporting director), Arnd Hovemann (Finance Director) and Björn Borgerding (Chairman of the Supervisory Board) are expected to officially present the club’s new innovative strategy to attract new fans.
‘Fortuna for all’
The letter reveals that the project – ‘Fortuna for All’ – has the aim of ‘providing free admission to league home games for all fans, regardless of whether they are Fortuna members, season ticket holders, fan club members, regular stadium visitors or visiting fans’.
The project will be subject to a trial project at an undecided ‘set number of home matches” in the 2023/24 season.
A report by German TV channel WDR revealed the club’s season ticket holders are expected to be given first choice regarding the free tickets on offer.
Sponsors to cover revenue loss
The loss of revenue from ticket sales is self-evident. Fortuna, who are currently sixth in Bundesliga 2, have a huge following.
The average attendance at home games this season is over 29,378 – with a stadium capacity of 54,600. This means that giving away tickets could result in a loss of several million Euros per game.
The directors of Fortuna believe that the losses could be compensated by ‘new sponsorship income from several new strategic sponsors who will seek to benefit from the club’s newfound popularity’.
It is hoped the initiative will create real momentum in the coming season to drive the 1979 UEFA European Cup Winners Cup finalists back to the top tier from which they were relegated in 2019/20.
In 2014/15, Scottish League Two club Albion Rovers offered season tickets on a ‘pay what you can’ offer in the hope of achieving a similar momentum. The gates increased by 50%, but the club finished bottom of the league and were relegated.
It can only be hoped that Fortuna, who have spent 25 seasons since the founding of the Bundesliga in the top tier, have ‘more in the tank’ and can benefit from the idea, which is bound to be popular with fans.
The initiative could even be a model for clubs in other competitions, including the Premier League.