“What’s going to happen to the Olympic Park without the football? - Even a year ago, we were continuously being confronted with this question. And the response was always the same: Lots of things! And we’ve certainly put this promise into action. Not only in terms of quantity, but also quality, the Olympic Park once again demonstrated in 2005 that it is one of the leading venues for events in Europe. Whether it be sport or entertainment, an international happening or a small exhibition - 374 events attracting a total of around 2.6 m visitors have been held against the spectacular backdrop of the Olympic Park,” commented CEO Wilfrid Spronk, opening the Olympic Park’s press conference in the Olympic Tower on Thursday.
2005 - This year rounded off an extraordinarily successful sequence of events at the Munich Olympic Park. After 33 years of national and international football spectacles, the last professional football game in the Olympic Stadium was held on May 14, 2005. This 1120th game signalled the end of an era that is not only unparalleled in footballing history, but has also decisively shaped the Munich Olympic Park.
And yet the Olympic Park has always been more than “just” a home for “major” football games. This explains why the chief concern in 2005 was to reinforce the Park’s outstanding image as one of Europe’s premiere event and leisure parks.
And this goal was certainly met during this “transitional year”. Events starting with the open air cinema, the Munich World of Wine, the open air opera performance of Turandot through to the Munich Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lights of Joy and the Air&Style Games not only presented spectacular new events to the public but also showed that the Olympic Park can offer a unique programme – specifically in the Olympic Stadium – for all types of visitor groups, even without football.
Building on this, it was naturally important to consolidate the financial position of the company that had changed due to the cessation of football business. Here too, it is possible to refer to a positive result. The new open-air events, construction of the large Sea Life Munich aquarium that opened in April 2006, establishment of the Olympic Park’s SoccaFive Arena (back in 2004) and construction of a musical theatre in the Event Arena in 2007 are the fundamental steps in this process. After all, Olympiapark München GmbH did earn more than 8 m Euros in 2005.
Right from the start, Olympiapark München GmbH (OMG) viewed the greatest challenge in its history, namely to operate the Park successfully even without football, as an opportunity. However, certain preconditions have to be met in order to seize proper advantage from this. These include maintaining the Olympic and pre-Olympic facilities in a nationally and internationally competitive and functioning condition at the same time as developing alternative usage concepts.
Some of the measures featured the refurbishment of the Olympic Hall, above all in terms of gastronomy and logistics, the modernisation of the Werner-von-Linde Hall (reopening at the end of the 2006), the establishment of a musical theatre (2007) in the Event Arena, as mentioned above, and the possibility of building a new outer shell for the Olympic Tower.
“We are in competition with new, modern facilities, therefore the Park’s core venues have to be upgraded to meet contemporary expectations, in spite of the fact that the maintenance and refurbishment measures required by these same facilities represent significant costs. It will only be able to guarantee that the entire Olympic Park can continue to develop on a sound footing by making investments and maintenance expenditure running into millions,” observes Mr. Spronk, continuing that, “The details of the financing packages have to be discussed.”
Irrespective of this, the Munich Olympic Park experienced an eventful year in 2005. Of the 4.0 m visitors, more than 2.6 m people came to attend 374 events and another approx. 1.4 m visitors took advantage of the various leisure and tourism opportunities. From its opening in 1972 to December 31, 2005, the Park has registered more than 160 m visitors.