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How Bayern mint billions from Allianz Arena

According to statics released by financial services firm Deloitte last month, Bayern Munich was the fourth richest club behind Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona globally.

The Bavarian giants made €587.8 million (Sh70.5 billion) in the 2016/17 season alone and were not far off United €676.3 million (Sh81 billion), Madrid €674.6 million (Sh80 billion) and Barcelona €648.3 million (Sh77.7 billion).

However, what was striking from the statistic is that Bayern generates “the most commercial revenue of any football club globally.”

Last season, commercial revenue accounted for €334.36 million (Sh40 billion) of the club’s total revenue. A visit to Bayern’s iconic Allianz Arena stadium will give you a clear picture on why the club is ahead of the pack in terms of revenue generation from internal sources.

Built in 2005 at a cost of €360 (Sh43 billion), the 75,000-seater stadium is an architectural marvel that has become a great source of revenue and pride for those associated with Bayern. The Allianz is widely known for its exterior of inflated ETFE plastic panels and is the first stadium in the world with a full colour changing exterior.

Press have it easy

This writer inside the Bayern museum at the Allianz Arena. Photo/COURTESY OF STARTIMES

But it’s in the inside that you get to appreciate the attention to detail given to the facility. Next to the main entrance, there is a huge mixed zone where journalists can capture the players arriving and wait for them after the match to conduct interviews.

Still on matters journalists, members of the press are, perhaps, the luckiest people in the stadium on match days.

The press room, designed as a theatre, has a sitting capacity of 160 with two translators on hand whenever the opposing coaches are conducting interviews.

What’s more, the journalists have their own restaurant at Allianz where they enjoy free meals of their choice before, during and after matches or press conferences.

The restaurant has several TV sets where journalists can also watch live matches of other teams across the country. With the players being the most important asset, they get free Audi super cars from the club’s sponsor and have well secured parking slots.

Players pampered

Once inside the stadium, the players have a gym and pre-match cooling areas as well as a place for ice baths after the game. These facilities are adjacent to the giant dressing room whose access is only granted to players and coaches.

Allianz Arena is built next to a train station, making it easy for fans to access the facility on match day and there are several entrances for various ticket holders.

“We have a parking house for 10,800 cars outside the stadium and 800 slots inside for fans with cars and we charge them which is an extra source of revenue,” said Christian Suber, who took around a group of African journalists that toured the stadium last week courtesy of Bundesliga media sponsors StarTimes.

German football fans start arriving two hours to kick off and once they make their way inside the stadium, they either go to the club’s merchandise shop where a replica jersey costs €70 (Sh8,397)—there are no shirts on the black market here—or head to the club’s main restaurant where they can get a drink or bite. Money generated from these two avenues also goes directly to the club.

Scarce commodity

Bayern superstar Arjen Robben and his family arrive for the match against Frabkfurt. Photo/COURTESY OF STARTIMES

A ticket to watch Bayern is one of the hottest items in Germany and to ensure many people get a share, they are allocated from category 1-5, the prices varying based on the sitting area.

Every year, 38,000 fans are allocated season tickets which cost €140 (Sh16,794), translating to €8 (Sh960) per match.

“For example, I got a season ticket when I was 13 and I have never given it back.

In the summer, I’m expecting a son and once he comes of age I will give the ticket to him and he will give it to his children,” says Suber. Then there are 15,000 tickets reserved on every match day which cost €70 (Sh8,397) per match while 11,000 are allocated to VIPs.

Allianz Arena also has a standing area with a capacity 15,930 (9,136 in the South and 6,794 in the North Stands) known as Südkurve München which is the loudest.

They cost €20 (Sh2,400 per match). Bayern also have a state-of-the-art museum which acts as an extra source of revenue. The museum has documented Bayern’s history from its establishment, its past and present players, the trophies won as well as those they have received from visitors.

“Everyday, apart from match day we have visitors here. We receive over 400,000 tourists every year and the tour costs €19 (Sh2,280),” Suber told the African journalists.

With that, Bayern has 600 people working at Allianz Arena in various departments daily and the number goes up to 1,600 on match days when the services of security, police, fire and hospitality departments are needed.

Besides these sources of income, Bayern have over 20 companies sponsoring them and this is perhaps why they have more commercial revenue than any of their rivals. A model to behold.

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