History and future of the Westfalenstadion (part 2)

In the late 80?s and early 90?s Borussia was on its way back to be the football power it was 30 years ago when BVB won the last Bundesliga championchip. On the one hand the club attracted more fans from year to year and on the other hand the reduced capacity for Uefa cup games was only about 35.000 (Bundesliga: 52.000). The officials realized that there had to be done something. The second part of the article will have a look at the developments of the Westfalenstadion, future plans and the World cup 2006.

As mentioned in the first part, in 1992 the former terrace North stand was converted into a permanent seating one and the capacity for Bundesliga games was reduced to 42.800/Uefa:35.000 (see last picture in first part of the article) . We had a situation that there was a dramatic reduce in tickets but the number of fans rose (see picture 1). Nobody was happy with that and soon plans for an extension emerged. But who should pay for the improvement of the city-owned venue?
Till 1995 the stadium was owned by the city of Dortmund which wasn?t able to pay for the improvement. So Borussia decided to buy the Westfalenstadion and finally founded the Westfalenstadion Dortmund GmbH & Co. KG (public limited society) together with Continentale Insurance, their trikot sponsor at that time, and the Harpen AG. A contract with the city was set up transferring the stadium grounds to the company for 30 years with a long-term building lease rate of 1 Mio DM (0.5 Mio Euro) per year. Despite the costs of about 65 Mio DM (ca.33 Mio Euro), which was a lot of money at that time, the ambitious president Dr.Niebaum and the financial manager Michael Meier showed they were eager to make BVB one of the leading german football clubs with a top venue that fits to Borussia.
In 1995 finally the Main stand (west) and East stand were expanding with new upper tiers. Each of them had a capacity of nearly 6.500. Between the new tiers and the old stands they installed office- and vip-boxes. The press and media places, which had been on the main stand ,were now on the East stand. Unfortunately the character of the stadium had changed. Some fans weren?t happy because the old Westfalenstadion as they knew it wasn?t the same now. But that is a different story... .
It became clear very soon that this was only the first step to increase capacity because the average attendance suddenly rose and soon tickets were as rare as before 1995. Another final (at that time they thought it would be final ;-) extension should put the Westfalenstadion in a position to be able to compete with Gelsenkirchen?s, Munich?s, Berlin?s and other stadia?s capacities. The Südtribüne (south stand) and North stand were in the architects? focus. About 40 Mio DM (ca.20 Mio Euro) for the second development of the Westfalenstadion were of course payed by the Westfalenstadion Dortmund GmbH & Co. KG.
In 1998 the North stand also got a new upper tier providing 7.800 seats and the legendary Südtribüne was expanded by more than 10.000 places without getting a new tier. In the North stand many new facilities were integrated. A new pub complex (the Borussia park with Seats for 1.600 guests), the BVB museum, VIP-rooms and some more features. While in the north the stand became a high class one with a stylish glass and steel front, the opposite stand was increased just in capacity not in comfort. But what comfort do you need on standing places? The Südtribüne is now the largest terrace stand in whole Europe with a capacity of incredible 27.000! More than the whole stadium in Leverkusen!
The Westfalenstadion was finally completed with a capacity of 68.600. Borussia?s officials thought that would do for the club and its fans. In 1995 and 1998 they couldn?t imagine that Borussia Dortmund had the potential to have an average attendance of more than 65.000 and sell out games several times. Had they knew what we know today the architects would have slightly changed their plans. The new tiers on the Main, North and East stand didn?t start at the same height (see picture 3). The stand in the south doesn?t even have a second tier. At that time this fact doesn?t seemed to be a problem because nobody had plans to fill the corners with buildings or new stands. It was clear that the extension in 1998 would be the last. But the first season (?98/?99) with the new capacity showed what an incredible crowd the BVB-fans are. The masses stormed the stadium, 45.000 season tickets were sold and made it easy for the club to raise more money from the ticketing to pay back the debts of the first and second development. Things were going their way and the officials were happy to see the Westfalenstadion filled with over 65.000 spectators every home match. Two years later things changed...

World cup 2006 :

?.On 6. Juli 2000 at 14:07 CET Fifa president Sepp Blatter announced the host for the World cup 2006. ?And the winner is?..Germany!? were the words that made the whole country enthusiastic. Not only the citizens also the officials of many german football clubs. Berlin was the stadium for the final match ,that was clear, and Munich should host the opening ceremony and match (Franz Beckenbauer is president of the wc2006-committee and of Bayern Munich so it was clear that Munich would have, along with Germany?s capital Berlin, an exponated position during the World cup). At the end 16 cities tried to became one of the venues for 2006. It was a hard fight because nobody wanted to be sidelined during the World cup. In April 2002 following 12 cities were elected: Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Köln, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich , Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart. These stadia have a minimum capacity of 40.000 as required for the World cup. For the opening match (Munich), the match for the third place, the semi finals and the final (Berlin) a capacity of 60.000 seats or more is needed. At present only Berlin and the new stadium in Munich provide this. Stuttgart immediately announced plans to expand their Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion to 60.000 seats to host a semi final but a few days ago plans for an extension up to 53.000 only were made public.
When Germany was elected in 2000 also Borussia?s officials were keen to play an outstanding role in 2006. Finally because of the very high average attendance in Bundesliga games and the World cup 2006 as a new motive once again new plans were set up. At first Borussia published plans of a ?championsdome? with four towers in the corners and a new pitch that could be pulled up to roof height and make the Westfalenstadion a giantic indoor venue. By this way the pitch would also get enough light and air to grow well. The capacity shouldn?t change. These plans proofed very soon to be a non-sense idea. Things changed very quickly and suddenly the officials wanted to raise the seat capacity from 52.000 to more than 60.000. They had a new idea in mind?..Dortmund should host a semi final in 2006! Because Berlin and Munich will have their ?big game? (final and opening match), it is pretty certain that Dortmund will achieve this goal, despite that the final decisions are made by 2004 only.
Now there had to be made new plans. At least a minium of 14.000 new seats had to be build. But that would mean a capacity of about 67.000 seats, why such a high capacity? The answer is that 60.343 tickets will be for the fans during the World cup and 6.000 for press, media, VIP?s, officials as demanded by FIFA for a semi final.
The only solution was to fill the corners with new stands??and there was the problem mentioned before that the stand?s second tiers doesn?t start at the same height. Also the bottom of the corners will be left open so that the pitch gets enough air and the video walls can be placed there. So it is clear that the Westfalenstadion won?t have a symetric look after the next development. Some fans say the stadium will look ugly others say it will look unique and not like the stereotypes in Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg... . The workings started on 06.05.2002, two days after BVB won its sixth Bundesliga title, and will last till September 2003. The club will then have a stadium with a Uefa capacity of 67.000 and Bundesliga capacity of incredible 83.000!!!
Dr.Niebaum believes that 10.000 new season tickets could be sold and an average attendance of about 75.000 isn?t out of reach. No other football club in the world (!) has such an average attendance (last season: 1.Manchester United: 67.500, 2.Borussia Dortmund: 65.500, 3.Real Madrid: 63.500, 4.Internazionale Milano: 62.500). Along with this the Westfalenstadion gets a new entrance system, better floodlights, more parking spaces around the stadium and many others facilities needed for better comfort and the World cup 2006.
The Westfalenstadion Dortmund GmbH & Co. KG will again raise the money to pay for the extension. At the moment Borussia ownes 75% of this public limited society (Continentale and Harpen AG each 12,5%). Last week the club released an ad-hoc-information saying they sell their share in the society to Molsiris letting company for 75,44 Mio Euro. 6% of the society will be transferred to goool.de, a 100% daughter of BVB. In 15 years the club has the option to buy back the remaining 94% of the shares (Harpen AG an Continentale will also sell their shares to Molsiris) making them the 100% owner of the stadium and the ground, which will be bought by Borussia from the city of Dortmund for 12,8 Mio Euro this month. Till then BVB has to pay 12,6 Mio Euro each year to rent back the Westfalenstadion from Molsiris but will have their revenues increased by 16,2 Mio Euro each year as planned (more tickets will be sold, BVB doesn?t need to pay interests for new debts and old debts from the first and second development will be payed back). What is the clue behind this deal? Borussia Dortmund avoids tying up funds in concrete, making funds available for other projects. And in 2017 finally 100% of the stadium and the ground will be owned by Borussia Dortmund without any debts on it.

The Westfalenstadion of 1974 which was a low budget solution will become a modern stadium, with a huge capacity the BVB-fans will be proud of, by september 2003. It will climb up to the likes of ?Estadio Santiago Bernabeu?, la opera del calcio ?Guiseppe Meazza?, the theatre of dreams ?Old Trafford? and billions of football fans will watch in summer 2006 when a semifinal will be broadcasted from this venue to the whole world! I hope to be one of the lucky fans to get a ticket and watch this game in ?my living room?, the WESTFALENSTADION, Dortmund!

Geschrieben von jonam