They even mentioned a stadium of up to 80,000 but now 57,000 seems too much for RB Leipzig. The franchise-alike club is going forward with expansion, but the plans have been cut back a lot.
Already when they were fighting for a spot in Bundesliga, RB Leipzig were considering expansion of Red Bull Arena (Zentralstadion). Then, in early 2016, we were treated to almost unbelievable visions of 80,000 capacity. Except not ‘almost’, they indeed proved unbelievable.
Today the Bundesliga first-timers buffed up by energy drink money are nowhere as bold in their declarations. To the contrary, they’re even pulling out from the previous plans. From spring 2016 until just a month ago RB were on the record for wanting 57,000 capacity at Red Bull Arena instead of the current 44,000. Now that plan is out, despite having received traffic and noise clearance from the municipality.
Expansion is still planned, just not as big as the above scheme. Currently RB aim at 50,000. “We have great fans, just not enough to sell 60,000 tickets per game” said chairman Oliver Mintzlaff. The club estimates that this season 6 out of 17 games would not be sold out with current capacity, despite astonishingly good performance on the field.
Another obstacle is the cost. While Zentralstadion is possible to expand, raising capacity by the planned 13,000+ would not be possible without significant interference with the existing structure.
And RB just aren’t willing to work so hard on it. “We’re ready to invest, but it has to give returns within two years. Anything else is off the table. We want to earn quickly with good conversion. The more expensive something is, the longer we will think about it”, said the chairman.
For the time being, RB are planning minor changes. This summer, ahead of the 2017/18 season, the VIP section will grow by 500 seats to reach 1,800. Additional changes should improve the matchday experience for regular supporters, too.