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1860 Munich and the Grünwalder Stadium: A question of appreciation – Sport

This Saturday is a holiday again in Munich-Giesing. The sun is shining, people are standing in front of the pubs and in the green areas, and then the lions are playing in the stadium. They play against VfB Oldenburg in the third division, but what does that matter. Maybe they really get promoted this year and won’t play against VfB Oldenburg next year.

It all sounds too good to be true, and it probably is. From an economic point of view, TSV 1860 Munich has enormous problems with the municipal stadium on Grünwalder Straße. After all, he doesn’t earn anything if the supporters drink their beer in the pubs and in the parks. And he doesn’t even earn anything if they drink or eat in the stadium – because the city has signed a catering contract that gives the clubs a zero-cent share of the turnover. But it is they who bring people into the stadium with their games, who then consume something there. “It’s almost unique and unusual in Germany,” says Marco Sautner, Managing Director at 1860’s marketer Infront.

The TSV has calculated how much it loses just by not participating in the catering, and assuming a participation of 1.50 euros per spectator, it comes to around 400,000 euros per season. And after the exchange with many other football clubs, he also calculated the other positions, which in his opinion do not correspond to the norm in the Grünwalder Stadium. Accordingly, the so-called market unusualness adds up to 1.7 million euros per season. This means that the lions go into the race year after year with a corresponding financial disadvantage compared to their competitors.

The batteries for the LED perimeter advertising have to be driven 100 kilometers after each game – this also causes costs

“These 1.7 million euros coincidentally correspond almost exactly to the annual deficit that we generate,” says Marc-Nicolai Pfeifer, the commercial director of TSV 1860. Translated from Pfeifer’s point of view, this means: Would the club be treated in line with market practice or treated more fairly by the City of Munich, the chance of a balanced financial result would be greater, and neither shareholders nor sponsors or fans would have to pay for this disproportion. Both shareholders, the eV and the investor side around Hasan Ismaik, are in agreement on this matter – and as is well known, consensus among the shareholders is not a matter of course at sixty. High time for a small breakdown of what is unusual in the market.

The so-called Sechzger-Alm alone at the training ground costs sponsors and partners 190,000 euros per season because the Grünwalder stadium does not have an adequate VIP area. Renting the hut itself is around 80,000 euros, but there are unavoidable additional costs, around 34,000 euros for the bus shuttle to and from the stadium – and 36,000 euros for renting the toilet containers. Even important people have to go to the toilet sometimes. “We can’t provide the VIPs with very simple mobile toilets when they are involved,” says Wilson Thomas Pearce, who is responsible for 1860 marketing at Infront.

Your advertisement could be here: The almost LED board of the Munich Lions at the DFB Cup match against Dortmund.

(Foto: ActionPictures/Imago)

A lack of advertising options on the scoreboard, which has nostalgic number panels instead of an LED screen, costs an estimated 40,000 euros. The income from an advertising banner in front of the standing hall, also amounting to 40,000 euros, does not go to the lions because the marketing of this advertising space is not left to the club in the usage contract. The LED perimeter advertising, in turn, causes costs of more than 100,000 euros. One reason for this is the insufficient current capacity, which requires the use of battery modules. They have to be taken to the warehouse almost 100 kilometers away after each game, as there is currently no loading or storage facility in the stadium.

TSV 1860 Munich: Expected a lot: 1860 managing director Marc-Nicolai Pfeifer.

Did a lot of calculations: 1860 Managing Director Marc-Nicolai Pfeifer.

(Photo: Ulrich Wagner/Imago)

According to the list, a disadvantage of 430,000 euros results from an unusual ratio of standing to (more lucrative) seats in a league comparison. Currently there are still 63 percent standing room, as a normal case 30 percent is assumed. It is also a pity from Pfeifer’s point of view that the building department for fall protection “simply raised railings in front of the best seats without consultation and did not implement any alternatives such as Plexiglas”, so that these seats are no longer for sale – another minus of 100,000 euros.

The naming rights to the stadium are also not marketed – and are not available to the clubs

Another major issue is the obligation to offer combination tickets for local public transport due to the inner-city location of the stadium. 245,000 euros come together here if, like TSV 1860, you assume a comparative value of one euro per ticket. An additional 56,000 euros can be attributed to a tax effect: the Munich transport company MVG bills with seven percent sales tax, but the tickets have to be sold with 19 percent. Sixty tried to talk to the people in charge. “We wanted to conduct fair negotiations with the transport association, present our many arguments and break with the do-or-die rule,” says Bernd Grossmann, Head of Finance and Controlling at TSV – in other words with the principle that a monopolist can dictate conditions at will . So far, however, without success. On the contrary: the price per viewer for the new season has increased by another eight cents.

The city is currently not marketing the naming rights to the stadium, and this right is also not available to the clubs. TSV 1860 Munich had various interested parties and submitted a concept. “Unfortunately, we first got the answer from the media. Of course, another significant source of income is missing in the overall view, and at the same time the municipal companies are deprived of an opportunity to support them through sponsorship or a different way of evaluating the rent,” says Pfeifer. In the case of league competitor FSV Zwickau, for example, the 100 percent municipal subsidiary building and property company Zwickau mbH (GGZ) gave the stadium its name.

1860 investor Ismaik recently warned on Facebook that the club has no future in the Grünwalder stadium – one might interpret this as a threatening backdrop in the event that the city changes neither the rental conditions nor the conditions for future renovations. Everyone at TSV 1860 Munich would like better conditions. But Pfeifer reports: “Despite the involvement of all decision-makers, many discussions and repeated arguments, the city has again not adjusted the rental conditions for the new season.”

The rent increase last summer not only surprised the club

TSV 1860 Munich is also concerned with correcting the deterioration from last summer. As part of the approval process for last season, the lions had to accept two ad hoc changes in the rental agreement: On April 17, 2021, according to internal mail traffic, they received a contract without a rent increase, but with a new MVV obligation in view; on May 7th, 2021, a contract with a one-sided signature of the sports office was delivered – with the MVV clause and a rent increase with reference to the assessment office. This, in turn, is said to have been surprised by the matter when asked, according to the TSV.

The club refused until the very end to sign under the conditions for 2022/23 – three days before the game against Oldenburg, however, he felt pressured by the city to do so. He received a letter announcing that the game would otherwise not take place there due to liability issues. A separate contract had been drawn up for the cup game against Borussia Dortmund.

Those responsible for the lions are increasingly surprised because the assessment office actually signaled a basic understanding of the listing and addition of the market abnormalities in the discussions. However, the department for education and sport also gave them to understand that the city of Munich currently has other priorities: the evaluation office is currently evaluating other projects. It only wants to take the time to appreciate the stadium in the second half of the year, although TSV 1860 had definitely been promised it for this season. At least that’s the version of the lions.

“It cannot be that the city government always suggests that negotiations are taking place, but from the point of view of the clubs this is not the case at all.”

According to Sitzberger, when representatives of the Executive Committee around Robert Reisinger and Hans Sitzberger, members of the Supervisory Board, managing directors and department heads were at a meeting in the town hall to discuss possibilities for reducing rents, the entourage learned that it was too late for that. Because the new draft contract for the use of the stadium had already been sent to Sixty. “The dates were set in good time and the talks have been going on for almost two years without a result,” Sitzberger complains.

The opposition in the city council recently backed the lions. “The state capital should accommodate the TSV 1860 with the conditions and provide transparent information about the possibility of a rent reduction,” said Manuel Pretzl, the parliamentary group leader of the CSU and Free Voters. His parliamentary group has already made a number of applications: “the adjustment of the club’s share in the combination ticket to one euro, the examination of possible marketing of the stadium name, the establishment of a round table with all users to clarify urgent questions.” The CSU and the Free Voters ask themselves “why no agreement has been reached despite long negotiations,” explained Pretzl: “It cannot be that the city government always suggests that negotiations will take place, but from the point of view of the clubs is not the case at all.”

The coalition of SPD, Greens, Volt and Rosa Liste also commented on the current state of affairs. Based on a corresponding decision by the city council, it will be checked “what level of rent is customary for the unrenovated stadium”. However, this process is “very extensive” and requires “collecting and analyzing a large amount of data and information”. As soon as the result is available, “a statement can be made about the amount of the future rent”. At 1860, they are eagerly awaiting when the time will come.

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