Fortuna Düsseldorf is trying something new, as it plans to make home games free for those in attendance. The 2. Bundesliga club plans to implement this new tradition at Merkur Spiel-Arena as soon as next season, even if it is only in the second division of the German soccer pyramid.

The club’s reasoning for this change is to return the club to the hands of the fans. In Germany, club supporters already have a bigger say than elsewhere in Europe. However, Fortuna Düsseldorf is offering free tickets among a number of other changes to increase its fan involvement. It is part of the “Fortuna for all” initiative at the club.

For example, Fortuna is relying on modern digital forms of communication, as well as workshops to reach more people more regularly. The club wants fan input on the future of the club, its course both on and off the field and the separation of finances.

Financial clarity is a major change for Fortuna Düsseldorf. The club laid out how its income will divide between the different facets of the club. The first team accounts for much of the investment, but the women’s and youth teams combine for 20% of the club’s spending. A further 20% will go to digital infrastructure and the 54,600-seat stadium. Finally, 10% of the newly raised funds go to supporting grassroots sports in the city and the initiation of sustainable practices.

How Fortuna Düsseldorf is making home games free

The money allowing for all these changes is coming from a number of sponsors that are on board with the fan-first changes. The club named Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Targobank, Provinzial and Common Goal as some of the sponsors that are promoting this new change in club direction.

Fortuna Düsseldorf CEO Alexander Jobst says these sponsors not only contribute to the future of the club but also make up for the lost ticket revenue in this venture.

“In order to ultimately be able to offer all home games free of charge, we need further long-term partnerships on our joint journey. We are very pleased with the companies that are already on board and are open to further partners who want to walk this extraordinary new way with us. Together, we are embarking on a journey where things can still change. And that’s a good thing. We have a clear goal, a common idea, strong partners and incredible fans,” Jobst concludes.

This plan also has the backing of the Düsseldorf mayor Dr. Stephan Keller, who said this has the chance to return Düsseldorf to a sports city.

Could free admission be a thing in the future for Major League Soccer? Let’s see how it goes in Düsseldorf goes.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Revierfoto