bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga

'Fortuna For All': Fortuna Düsseldorf host third game in remarkable plan to shake up football with free tickets


Fortuna Düsseldorf have broken new ground this season with three free home matches as part of the Bundesliga 2 club's pioneering 'Fortuna For All' project.

The 'Fortuna For All' project was unveiled at the end of 2022/23, outlining the club's ambitious plans to offer free admission to all spectators at the Merkur Spielarena, from hardcore season ticket holders and fan club members to occasional visitors and even away fans.

Find out more about Düsseldorf, one of the host venues for Euro 2024 this summer

The campaign could hardly have gotten off to a more breathtaking start on Matchday 10, with Fortuna gaining a remarkable 4-3 win, having trailed by three goals against rivals Kaiserslautern. Over 120,000 ticket requests were made for that game.

Watch: Fortuna For All begins with a bang! 

The trial scheme then continued on Matchday 19, although the result didn't go Fortuna's way, with division leaders St. Pauli emerging victorious

"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."

The club announced at the start of January that there had been some 130,000 applications for tickets to be inside the 54,600 capacity Merkur Spielarena for the game against Pauli. A market for second-hand tickets from those unable to use theirs was also opened.

Watch: Highlights of Match 2 against Pauli

The final test game in Fortuna's scheme came on Matchday 28, with Düsseldorf beating Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 on 7 April 2024.

Some 90,000 applications were made for tickets in the first phase for members, meaning Düsseldorf enjoyed its fifth full house of this Bundesliga 2 campaign. There were also 1,000 tickets given out to local charities and some 500 for partner youth clubs. 

The club is running the 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.

Watch: Düsseldorf win 'Fortuna For All' take III

    When picking the games against Kaiserslautern, Pauli and Braunschweig, Fortuna considered the following three criteria:

    • The games should provide fans with a great atmosphere. In terms of attractiveness and tradition, the opponents should befit Fortuna.
    • It was ensured that there is enough time between the games so the club can learn from each game, improve procedures and tackle any points of criticism.
    • All phases of the season should be covered, with a game early on, in the middle and then in the final third of the campaign. 

    This approach was agreed with the DFL. It was also decided that there would be no free games on the final four matchdays.

    The only requirement to apply was to have an account with the Fortuna online ticket shop - as was already the case to purchase any ticket. 

    "We've listened a lot in recent weeks, and taken the cricitism and ideas of fans into account. We're very happy to now be starting with 'Fortuna For All' and take the next step with the pilot phase," Jobst stated earlier in the season.

    Watch: Take a look around Fortuna Düsseldorf's home

    At the time of the initial announcement, Jobst had also acknowledged: "To be able to offer all home matches free of charge, we need more long-term partners. 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 had 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 Spielarena, a UEFA Euro 2024 venue which boasts a capacity of 54,600 – although their average attendance in Bundesliga 2 this term has hovered a bit over the 38,000 mark. The 'Fortuna For All' project is no doubt helping to fill the stadium and boost the club's standing within the city, but also the team's promotion push.

    "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."

    Click here for more on the 'Fortuna For All' campaign!