Reconstruction of Olympiastadion is far from a done deal. But with or without it, Hertha aim at playing in a new stadium by 2025.
In yesterday's exclusive interview for Berliner Morgenpost the new Hertha's stadium manager Klaus Teichert gave supporters an update on where the club's stadium scheme stands. Hertha BSC Stadion GmbH chief confirmed that remaining at Olympiastadion in its current shape is not an option for Hertha in the long run. Architect by trade, Teichert sees the stadium as unfit for the club's needs and fanbase size.
“We're currently seventh in Bundesliga in terms of crowds. But in terms of occupancy Olympiastadion is the single worst stadium and that makes a difference in atmosphere. When you have 47,500 people in Berlin, you also have a third of the stadium empty. That same number in a 50,000-stadium would make a completely different atmosphere”, said Teichert.
As statistics show, Hertha remains unable to attract significantly more than 50,000 people per game, which is why a 50-55,000 capacity stadium seems to be the way to go. Another crucial issue is the form of ownership. Olympiastadion is a public building owned by the land, while the best way forward seems to be a private stadium.
“At the moment we pay a little over €5 million per season for Olympiastadion. Playing at a private stadium we would have to use our financing over a depreciation period of 25 years. With current interest rates this makes little difference in annual cost. The big difference comes for management. We could organise business the way we want. At present we take over on Friday before a Saturday game, bring our furnishings and then have to clear everything afterwards. That would be a non-issue.” Teichert claims.
For now there is no indication that staying at a revamped Olympiastadion is the preferred option. Talks with authorities are ongoing but at the same time Olympiastadion is bidding for the 2023 World Championships in athletics, which from Hertha's perspective isn't acceptable. “As Hertha we cannot wait to see whether the bid succeeds or not. Our strategy remains the same: a football-specific stadium by 2025.” the manager says.
Hertha is currently evaluating various options, including the location. Leaving Berlin would be very unwelcome by fans but all possibilities are reportedly still on the table. Early estimates suggest that both the revamp of Olympiastadion and construction from scratch would cost roughly €4,000 per seat (€200 million or more for the whole stadium), but there are major issues to be settled. By spring of 2018 the club wants to decide on what kind of roof would be preferable, for example.