German second-division side Dusseldorf to continue free entry project-Xinhua

German second-division side Dusseldorf to continue free entry project

Source: Xinhua| 2024-01-21 16:28:00|Editor: huaxia

by Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Stunning success makes German football club Fortuna Dusseldorf continue its "Fortuna for all" project of providing free tickets for its fans.

"I am positive about continuing our project next season and possibly increasing the number of games," the club's CEO Alexander Jobst told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Ahead of the second of three sponsor-backed "free" games this season against St. Pauli on January 27, requests rose from 120,000 to over 130,000 for the 54,600-people stadium, with the third scheduled in April against Eintracht Braunschweig.

The second-division side attracted worldwide attention by implementing a new strategy of providing free entry after fans applied on a special platform.

Jobst talked about at least four games for free entry next season.

"We open doors for all to see a game," the CEO said, referring to a survey which showed 63 percent of the respondents said they can't afford a regular visit.

Experiences after the first game on October 21, 2023 were overall positive, Jobst added.

The 1979 and 1980 German Cup winner and sponsors focused on the member-based side's options to anchor the club closer to the city and supporters.

Jobst spoke about the biggest transformation of a member-based club in professional football as the first intention was to keep the club and football to the people.

The project covers the needs of a football club to combine economic and sportive success to return to the top flight.

In a year-long process, Fortuna explored the options to grow while acting within Germany's 50-plus-one rule which forced clubs to keep the majority of shares.

Jobst said 20 percent of the revenues will go to women's and youth football, with another 20 percent into the digital structure and arena while social projects benefit as well.

The CEO claims that shirt selling has increased by 50 percent and in-arena revenues by 42, and have also gained new customers and supporting VIPs.

"Fortuna for all" is a society commitment of the club, city, and sponsors, while the sports magazine Kicker called the project "a ticket revolution."

"It's a project we run together with our fans. For instance, we reduced the number of available tickets per person from five to four after talks with fan organizations," Jobst said.

The CEO called the project a success "despite we have only started recently."