In a move that gives rise to all sorts of sensationalist 'clickbait' headlines and will have HSV fans everywhere fearful of imminent financial collapse, Hamburger SV have sold the deeds to the land beneath their Volksparkstadion back to the city of Hamburg in order to finance a renovation of the ground ahead of the 2024 Euros.
The Volksparkstadion was built in 1999 at a cost of €100 million and was at the time of its opening one of the most modern stadiums in the world. Twenty years later however, the stadium is beginning to show its age and in need of a spruce up - especially since Hamburg have been announced as one of the host cities for Euro 2024. However, there's a problem. Being innovative comes at a price. There's no suggestion that the club are going to struggle financially in the short to medium term, but obviously stadium renovations require additional revenue - something they've been unable to generate having lost their long-held Bundesliga status back in 2018 and subsequently making heavy weather of earning a return. Add in the financial challenges presented by the ongoing COVID pandemic and HSV aren't in a position to fund the project alone. So, the club have decided to sell the land under the Volksparkstadion back to the city of Hamburg in a reversal of a deal that was first struck in 1998. Back then, the city sold the land for a symbolic DM1 on condition that HSV help fund the stadium build in time for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Now, the city will buy the land back on the proviso that HSV use the €23.5 million amount they will receive to upgrade the stadium for Euro 2024. Under the agreement, 'Der Dino' will also have to pay an annual lease for the land worth 1.8% (€423,000) in a deal that will last until 2087, by which time the city will have recouped the €23.5 million plus an additional €5 million (which should go some way to appeasing the city's St Pauli-supporting taxpayers).
HSV's provisional estimates put the cost of the upgrades at €20-30 million and although nothing is finalised at this point, it is expected that a renovation of the membrane roof will be included in the list of works now that it's beginning to reach the end of its shelf-life. Other improvements are expected to include full LED lighting, a new sound system as well as upgrades to the media and hospitality facilities. Rumours about the stadium's naming rights being sold again also continue to circulate - a concern to the 'Rothosen ' faithful who have been pleased to see the stadium retain it's historic Volksparkstadion moniker for the past five years. HSV's biggest individual shareholder, billionaire Klaus-Michael Kühne, actually paid for naming rights until 2019 but didn't put a brand on the stadium. However, with HSV currently not in a particularly strong financial position, TV channel Sport1 recently suggested Deutsche Telekom (a current commercial partner and minority investor of HSV) could be the ones to grab the name.