‘Fortuna for All’ sees stratospheric interest

Featured Image: Fortuna Düsseldorf

German Bundesliga 2 club Fortuna Düsseldorf witnessed hundreds of thousands of ticket requests for its ‘Fortuna for All’ matches, which offered free entry for fans. 

‘Fortuna for All’ was unveiled early last year, with three pilot matches to be played during the current 2023-24 season. The scheme hopes to eventually see all fans able to attend home matches for free.

The club, which plays its home games at the 54,600-capacity Merkur Spielarena, compensates for the loss in ticket revenue with longer-running sponsorship agreements.

In an interview with German sports business publication Spobis, Fortuna Düsseldorf chief executive Alexander Jobst revealed that for the first game in October against FC Kaiserslautern, there were 120,000 registrations. This was then followed by 130,000 registrations for the fixture against FC St. Pauli.

With last weekend’s match against Eintracht Braunschweig included, there were more than 340,000 ticket requests according to Jobst.

Jobst revealed that many partnerships are signed for five years, in a league where deals usually last between one and two years. This will help to offer further ‘Fortuna for All’ games.

Other revenue streams, which have increased following the attention around the scheme, will also help.

“It is no secret that we need strong partners at our side to refinance. Especially if we want to offer more than three free games per season in the future,” Jobst told Spobis.

“For this, we have to win more partners. However, we see that other revenue lines show fluctuations and help us with refinancing. However, it remains volatile, no one can predict how revenues will develop in the future. Especially with the media revenue, there is currently still a question mark.

“We sell 46% more jerseys in merchandising than in the previous year. We have achieved a significant increase in the home jerseys alone and doubled sales. In addition, we see 12% more fans in the stadium – and that is minus the free games. Such radiation effects help on our way and are the result of “Fortuna for all’.”

Fortuna Düsseldorf is currently third in the league table and has had a good cup run this season.

“If we compare the visitor value with our promotion season 2017-18, we even have 27% more people in the stadium. The effect of ‘Fortuna for all’ is therefore clearly visible,” said Jobst.

And while there were worries around the no-show rate, Jobst said these stresses have not been realised.

“The no-show rate was a big question mark for me personally,” he said, adding: “According to the motto: What costs nothing is worth nothing. The opposite has been shown, thank God! The value for the two games was between 12 and 15%. In regular league games – whether Bundesliga or 2. League – the number is significantly higher.”

The scheme has also allowed the German club to grow its database, which will eventually support further revenue streams.

“If you look at the numbers alone, we have taken a huge step forward. We were able to generate 703,000 new data points through the two free games,” said Jobst.

“A third of these are completely new contacts. The digital hub is the real heart of the project, which allows us to bring all data points together. The next step is monetisation. Here we are already on the right track, otherwise the above-mentioned increases in other business areas would not have been possible.”