German Bundesliga football club RB Leipzig has opted to postpone the expansion of its Red Bull Arena amid concerns over mounting construction costs.
Work was due to commence following the stadium’s hosting of Germany’s international friendly against Russia on November 17. The original plan was to expand Red Bull Arena from 42,558 to 52,000 seats in time for the 2020-21 season.
However, German newspaper Bild said the club will now focus on enhancing the stadium’s logistics and infrastructure, with the expansion side of the project being reassessed as the current budget of around €50m (£43.7m/$57.4m) is deemed insufficient.
RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff told Bild: “Of course we will expand and modernise the stadium. However, as the construction costs have risen sharply, we are now checking when we implement which steps. We are expanding the stadium for the future and are convinced that we need more capacity in the medium term. But in the end, everything has to be economical.”
RB Leipzig agreed a deal to purchase Red Bull Arena in December 2016, announcing plans to expand the venue. The announcement ended speculation over a stadium move for RB Leipzig, which was only formed in 2009 and currently sits second in the Bundesliga.
Bild noted that the stadium’s current capacity is sufficient for its role as a host venue for UEFA Euro 2024. Germany last month landed hosting rights to the national team football tournament, which will be held in 10 stadia across the country, including Red Bull Arena.
In other news, RB Leipzig has extended its regional partnership with the Leipziger Gruppe for a further three years until 2021. In addition to advertising space on the LED boards at Red Bull Arena, the Leipziger Gruppe will continue to be present with various promotional campaigns.
The Leipziger Gruppe – consisting of the municipal companies Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe, Leipziger Wasserwerke and Leipziger Stadtwerke – has been a partner of the team since 2016.
Group spokesman Michael Theis said: “Every year, the Leipzig-based group supports more than 130 clubs, institutions and projects – from small kindergartens to football league teams. We extended our commitment to RB Leipzig until 2021, because top football is good for our city and because Leipzig loves top football.
“In addition to this commitment, our public utilities, transport companies and waterworks provide energy and water in the stadium and in the training centre and ensure that the fans can get to the game and back home comfortably by bus and train.”
Image: Markus Unger