Borussia Dortmund has reformed its season ticket waiting list so that, in the future, every fan will be able to view the position that they occupy on the list. The overarching principle is that season tickets will be allocated based on the date of first entry. We spoke about the matter with Managing Director Carsten Cramer, Head of Ticketing Matthias Naversnik and Tobias Westerfellhaus of the Fan Department.
How many season tickets are there in total?
Matthias Naversnik (Head of Ticketing): "Currently we've sold 55,000 season tickets. Until around ten years ago there was an open sale. In 2007, for example, we sold 50,549 season tickets. Since 2009, the demand has significantly exceeded supply."
Why has Borussia Dortmund limited the number of season tickets to 55,000 since then?
Carsten Cramer (Managing Director): "We have the largest stadium in Germany with 81,360 spaces. According to DFL guidelines, every visiting team is entitled to a 10 percent allocation, so there are 73,220 spaces for BVB fans. A fluctuation is important for us. New and active fans should come along. We don't want it to be an exclusive event. We want a ratio of 75 percent season tickets and 25 percent day tickets for our fans."
Since when has there been a waiting list for people interested in season tickets? And how many people are on it?
Naversnik: "In 2008, the management restricted the number of season tickets to 55,000. But the demand was unwavering, which is why in 2009 we set up a waiting list where each person could state their wishes. And when I say wishes, what I mean is that this list contains the block one wants to be in, plus an alternative block and a field for miscellaneous information, where one can state, for example, I would like to sit next to XY. But that was difficult to implement. In addition, each entry could be continuously modified. As this list has now reached a certain age and, with 100,000 entries, is now so long that it could fill another stadium, we would like to know whether each person's wishes are up-to-date. As I said, some have been on there since 2009."
How high was and is the chance of getting a season ticket via this waiting list?
Naversnik: "In recent years, fewer than 100 season tickets have been returned annually that we could give to the people next in line. Among other reasons, this was because the tickets could be transferred directly to third parties."
What possibilities are there to increase this modest number?
Cramer: "Previously, each season ticket holder or their successor has been able to pass this subscription to third parties without restriction. Thanks to changes to our AGBs stating that we would only accept a transfer of tickets to a direct relative, we promise that we will be able to pass more tickets onto the next people on the waiting list." (Editor's note: A transfer of season tickets is currently only still possible to family members in the first or second degree.)
Why will there be two separate waiting lists in the future?
Tobias Westerfellhaus (Board Member of the BVB Fan Department): "We're naturally aware of the fact that every fan would be happy to get their hands on a season ticket at all, however a clear distinction between seated and standing season tickets is in the interests of the fans too. Not everyone has the financial resources to afford a seated season ticket, which is why the strict distinction between the two areas is a good development, which we, the Fan Department, can only support."
Which one offers the higher chance: seated or standing?
Naversnik: "The basic principle is that the longer one has been on the waiting list, the likelier they are to be taken into consideration at some point. With 25,000 spaces in the Yellow Wall, we have the highest proportion of standing spaces in Germany. However, the number of seated spaces is more than twice that amount. So from a purely mathematical point of view, the chance of getting a seated space is higher. But we cannot make a recommendation."
What was the process like in the last few weeks?
Westerfellhaus: "We had actually already placed the item of season ticket waiting lists on the agenda several years ago. For most fans, getting a season ticket seems like Mission Impossible. On the one hand, we're happy with that because it demonstrates the loyalty of the BVB fans. On the other hand, it's a real pity because over the years this has resulted in the development of a kind of closed society. However, for us it was important to place an emphasis on transparency for every individual again and to again give the fans the prospect of a season ticket. Even if the chance continues to be very low, it is finally possible to see in which position each individual fan is. In cooperation with the AG-Ticketing of the Fan Department, we've already developed numerous changes and improvements in this area and implemented them. Having regular exchanges and continuously seeking further development are enormously important in this area."
Why the initiative now?
Cramer: "It's a topic I really wanted to address. In the last few years Borussia Dortmund have reached various finals and simply had to prioritise other issues. I'm happy that we're finally moving in the right direction with the waiting list issue. Many thanks to everyone who played a part." (br)