Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a busy year for Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park.
The 51,000-seat stadium, which is the home of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, underwent a name change in the summer and is also under new management.
Patrik Meyer, the stadium’s managing director, discussed the changes during a presentation at TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020. Meyer also provided an update on planned redevelopment work, which will increase the stadium’s capacity to 60,000.
Deutsche Bank took on naming rights to the stadium on July 1 as part of a seven-year deal, replacing fellow financial services company Commerzbank in the role.
“In the middle of a pandemic it is quite an achievement to change the naming rights and we are very, very proud that a bank decided to take on the contract,” Meyer said during the session, which can be viewed in full below.
Meyer also discussed the stadium’s change in management from a private operator, Stadium Frankfurt Management, to a new partnership model between Eintracht Frankfurt and the city. The stadium’s catering contract also transferred from Aramark to Supreme Sports Hospitality.
Deutsche Bank Park opened in 1925 and underwent major renovation work ahead of the 1974 FIFA World Cup. The venue had another overhaul ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup and plans are now being made to further modernise the stadium.
Meyer detailed the range of upgrades, which include full Wi-Fi coverage, new LED floodlights, a new video cube, LED boards in the upper-bowl area of the stadium and revamped VIP areas. A new payment system is also set to be introduced for the 2021-22 season.
“We thought that the stadium needs improvement, especially in the digital part,” said Meyer. “In some areas, it has become quite outdated and so a digital renovation is the first step.”
New signage was fitted at the stadium in the summer to reflect the name change and Meyer discussed the more subtle differences between the old Commerzbank-Arena and the new Deutsche Bank Park.
“One major thing when you change a naming-rights sponsor is that it also changes all of your signage,” he said. “From the yellow Commerzbank signage, we did not change it blue to be connected with Deutsche Bank – Deutsche Bank actually allowed us to have the colours of Eintracht Frankfurt, which are black, white and red, so all of the new signage will be in those colours.
“This will be a major improvement especially for the fans, who can see that it looks much more like an Eintracht Frankfurt stadium rather than a naming-rights sponsor’s stadium.
“Even if it’s a very small change, our stairs used to be painted yellow and we just changed that to white. It gives the stadium a new look and a look that’s connected to our home fans.”
Meyer also discussed the planned expansion of the stadium, which will take place during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and revealed how the venue has given a platform to local bands in recent months in the absence of major concerts.
Following his presentation, Meyer took part in a Q&A session, which attendees can view here.
Attendees are able to watch sessions from all three days of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020 for the next 30 days through the event platform.
The Summit returns to Manchester – in person, in the real world – on June 22-23, 2021.