Second tier side Fortuna Düsseldorf are planning a major announcement that is going to cause shockwaves across German football. The club are proposing to make all tickets to their home games available free of charge in the future in a highly unorthodox move.
Yes, you did read it right, Düsseldorf are not simply going to offer cheap ticket to their fans, they are going to allow every fan to watch their heroes free of charge with an ambitious plan for sponsors to cover the shortfall in gate receipts.
The Rheinische Post is reporting that the club’s decision-makers Alexander Jobst (CEO), Klaus Allofs (Sport), Arnd Hovemann (Finance) and Björn Borgerding (Chairman of the Supervisory Board) are going to unveil the audacious plan on Wednesday with a project named “Fortuna For All”.
Entry to all home matches would be free to everybody regardless as to whether they were club members or season ticket holders, although there will be a priority system in place to reward existing season ticket holders.
It is thought a pilot system will be trialled next season with potentially three games chosen to test the viability. If successful the scheme would roll out for every home game regardless of whether Fortuna are in the 2.Bundesliga or the Bundesliga.
At first glance it seems like economic madness to give up a major income source, but the club believe sponsors can be found to make up the difference. The Merkur Spiel Arena stadium has a current capacity of 54,600 but is achieving an average attendance of 29,378 this season. The club would still be losing out on €7-8 million in ticket sales.
The club believe the black hole can be filled by “strategic partners who, together with us, are convinced that football primarily belongs to the fans and will accompany our new path in the long term”.
If the scheme does become a reality, it will be like nothing else seen anywhere in the world with regards a major league sporting team. Had this story broken three weeks ago, you could be forgiven for thinking it was an obvious April Fools trick, but Fortuna look to be giving the game back to the fans in the most ambitious of ways.