The city and Eintracht Frankfurt have reached understanding and for the next 15 years the club should become Commerzbank Arena's single operator. The city pledges to increase capacity to 60,000.
Another Euro 2024 host city is working on the details of its stadium preparations. For Frankfurt it's a very important moment because on June 30, 2020, the current management contract runs out. A change in operation model has now been agreed by the city and Eintracht.
After 15 of public Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH, now the football club is expected to take the steering wheel of Commerzbank Arena (Waldstadion). Once that happens, Eintracht will control the event calendar year round (with option to sublet for events), only leaving 20% of available dates to the municipality.
Infrastrucure to change
The good comes with the bad, that is Eintrach will also bear the cost of operation and repairs. Already now the club pledges to redefine the digital infrastructure in upcoming years. Over the last 15 years a lot of the technology has gone out of date and needs replacement.
On the other hand, the city will also have to invest some money. Both sides have agreed that the north-western stand will see its upper tier converted into terracing, which will bring capacity of the stadium to 60,000. We wrote about this idea in 2017 and are looking forward to it. After all, a 20,000-strong wall of supporters would be matched by very few worldwide.
Additionally, the municipality is also expected to upgrade the stand where Eintracht offices and part of the hospitality are placed. These also would use some improvement after 15 years in operation. All of the above changes are expected to take place until mid-2023.
Fot: Hans Permana
“We are pleased that after long and not always easy discussions with the city, we have found a model of cooperation that works for us, for the city, but also for the fans, audience and partners of the stadium as a win-win-win situation. Today's agreement ensures that the stadium's commercial exploitation rights will be transferred in full to Eintracht Frankfurt, and that the stadium will also be much more perceived as the home of Eintracht in the future.” said Eintracht board member Axel Hellmann.
Details not set in stone
While both sides have signed a memorandum of understanding, a full contract is yet to be delivered and signed. Before signatures can be given, the deal needs to be approved by appropriate committees.
Importantly, only some of the expected changes will be in effect for Euro 2024, when the tournament comes to Germany. UEFA will surely make use of better hospitality and digital infrastructure but international seated capacity is very unlikely to increase from its current 48,000.
Fot: Allie Caulfield