SV Darmstadt 98 and naming rights sponsor Merck agreed terms and will remain in partnership until 2024. By that time the stadium should already look differently than today.
On Thursday the Lilies and tech company Merck both confirmed agreement to prolong their partnership. Merck will remain the club's premium sponsor, financing youth operations. At the same time the stadium's name will remain 'Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor' for at least 6 more years.
Merck has been a long-term partner for SV Darmstadt and provided support in many ways. The company also agreed to take part in a unique action in 2016, agreeing to give away naming rights for almost an entire season to honour Jonathan Heimes, a supporter of the Lilies who died of cancer.
The news about further sponsorship couldn't come at a better time. Last year construction of a brand new stadium in Darmstadt was effectively killed and instead, the club drew up plans of gradual reconstruction of their current home. With long-term lease granted by municipal authorities, SV Darmstadt need stable financial situation to carry out their part of the stadium funding (€10m) and Merck's support is a big part of it.
What's the reconstruction plan?
Reconstruction of the old Böllenfalltor, forced by the inability to build a new stadium elsewhere, will be carried out in three phases, retaining the two provisional, covered end zones. Floodlights will also remain as they are. Their use will enable constant use of the stadium throughout the process.
First stage (spring 2018) will not cover the stadium itself, it includes creation of additional club offices behind the main stand, as an annex to the municipal sports hall.
First works at the stadium will see the old east terrace razed to the ground and within a year replaced by a brand new concrete stand. To retain some of the Bölle spirit, the grandstand will offer only standing room in its lower half, followed by seats in the upper sections.
Ready in mid-2019, the east stand will allow relocation of some uses and spectators from the west and demolition of the old main stand. A year later the entire stadium should be complete, able to hold 18,600 people instead of 17,400.
Designed by Frankfurt's 1100 Architekten, the entire project will cost is expected to stay within €28.5 million, of which the largest contribution will come from the city of Darmstadt (€15m). The football club will add €10 million, while the land of Hessen should complete the budget with €3.5 million.