2. Bundesliga, bundesliga

'Fortuna For All': Fortuna Düsseldorf's remarkable plans to shake up football with free tickets


Bundesliga 2 club Fortuna Düsseldorf have announced plans to offer free tickets at all of their future home games, stressing their desire to put fans back at the heart of the matchday experience.

The 'Fortuna For All' project was unveiled on Wednesday, outlining the club's ambitious plans to offer free admission to all spectators at the Merkur Spiel-Arena, from hardcore season ticket holders and fan club members to occasional visitors and even away fans.

"We want to make it clear what Fortuna Düsseldorf stands for," said club CEO Alexander Jobst. "With 'Fortuna For All', we're doing things differently and breaking new ground."

Fortuna Düsseldorf fans should have plenty to celebrate in coming seasons, with plans to give them free admission to all home games. - Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The club is set to run a pilot scheme during the 2023/24 campaign before the project is fully implemented in the coming years. The gradual loss of matchday revenue will be compensated by greater investment from sponsors, who have also pledged funds to develop the club's youth academy, women's football team and digital infrastructure.

"To be able to offer all home matches free of charge, we need more long-term partners," Jobst acknowledged. "We're happy about the companies that are already on board, and we're open to others who want to join us on this extraordinary path."

Fortuna already has deals in place with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Targobank and Provinzial, while they have become the second professional club in Germany – after Werder Bremen – to join the Common Goal initiative that supports football charities worldwide.

"Fortuna's decision not only shows a lot of courage, but also an understanding of how to adapt to the modern game," declared Thomas Preiss, co-founder of Common Goal. "The future viability and relevance of clubs is increasingly determined by their social engagement, as well as their sporting success."

The Merkur Spiel-Arena has a capacity of 54,600 and is one of 10 venues for UEFA Euro 2024. - Pool/Sascha Schuermann/Pool via Getty

Düsseldorf play their football at the Merkur Spiel-Arena, a future UEFA Euro 2024 venue which boasts a capacity of 54,600 – although their average attendance in Bundesliga 2 this term has hovered around the 30,000 mark. The 'Fortuna For All' project will no doubt help to fill the stadium and boost the club's standing within the city.

"As the state capital, we have a natural interest in a strong Fortuna," explained Stephan Keller, the mayor of Düsseldorf. "That's why I support Fortuna's new project, which is to open football up to everyone, and anchor it more firmly in the city and the hearts of its citizens. This unique concept shows what Düsseldorf is capable of."

Germany is regularly lauded for putting fans first, whether it is allowing members to have their say on key club matters, prohibiting big-money takeovers by external investors thanks to the 50+1 rule, or keeping the cost of the matchday experience affordable. Now, Fortuna's ticketing revolution could open up an even more fan-friendly chapter in German football.

Will the 'Fortuna For All' scheme bring about a revolution in how fans enjoy football in Germany? - Lars Baron/Getty Images

"We're embarking on a journey together in which things can still change, which is also a good thing," Jobst concluded. "The club belongs to everyone who participates and contributes with passion. But we have a clear goal, a common idea, strong partners and incredible fans."