City of Stuttgart injects further funds into MHP Arena revamp

Featured image credit: VfB Stuttgart

The City of Stuttgart has approved an additional funding package of €20m (£17.1m/$21.8m) in an effort to ensure MHP Arena retains its place as a host stadium for Germany’s staging of UEFA Euro 2024.

The home of Bundesliga football club VfB Stuttgart is undergoing redevelopment, with the final phase of the project, focusing on its main stand, scheduled to be completed ahead of this year’s Euros.

Stuttgart City Council yesterday (Thursday) decided to provide Stadion NeckarPark, ownership body of MHP Arena, with the additional €20m, stating the grant “covers a need that arose” during the renovation of the stadium.

MHP Arena, with its 60,449 capacity, is the sixth largest sports facility in Germany and is due to host four group stage games and a quarter-final during Euro 2024. The renovation scheme intends to transform it into one of the most modern football stadiums in Europe.

However, after construction began, problems with the grandstand’s foundation were identified and resolved. The City said the resulting delay required “intensive measures” such as weekend and night work to ensure that deadlines were not excessively exceeded. It stated that the general contractor has already provided, or arranged for, extensive services to accelerate and meet deadlines. 

The total costs for the stadium renovation will now rise to up to €139.5m. As the tenant and main user, VfB Stuttgart will pay €61m – directly through capital contributions and indirectly through higher lease payments to Stadion NeckarPark. Separately, VfB Stuttgart is investing a further €30m towards interior design, equipment and event technology.

Mayor for economics, finance and investments, Thomas Fuhrmann, said: “I can understand your anger about the additional costs, I even share it. We learned last week that there was a threat of a construction halt and that we were forced to take action if we wanted to complete the stadium in time for the European Championships. 

“This decision takes us one step further towards becoming a good host. I assure you that we will work through this process decisively and transparently.”

The German Football League (DFL) last week approved Porsche Group’s acquisition of a stake in VfB Stuttgart, with the automotive company revealing details of a new tunnel club experience at MHP Arena.

Stuttgart-headquartered Porsche, which is part of the Volkswagen group, agreed a wide-ranging deal with the club last summer, with the partnership including naming rights to the team’s home stadium, Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Mercedes-Benz Arena has been known as the MHP Arena since the start of the 2023-24 season. Porsche holds a majority stake in MHP, a management and IT consultancy firm.

Porsche’s acquisition of a stake in Stuttgart had required approval from the DFL and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office due to the corporate law connections between Porsche and Volkswagen, which owns rival Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg.

As announced last June, Porsche will initially acquire a 5.49% stake in the club. A second tranche can be acquired in June 2024, which would give Porsche a 10.41% stake. Porsche joins Mercedes-Benz and sports apparel manufacturer Jako, Stuttgart’s kit supplier, as a stakeholder in the club.

VfB said last June that the investment could be worth more than €100m, with the funds supporting the club after it encountered financial difficulties following COVID-19. Part of the deal saw Mercedes-Benz waive its naming rights to the stadium, with MHP taking the sponsorship under an initial 10-year contract.