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20.02.2018, 11:00
Record-breaking year for home of VELUX EHF FINAL4
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NEWS REPORT: More than 2.1 million people attended events at the LANXESS arena in Cologne last year, underlining its global role as a top multi-purpose event location

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Record-breaking year for home of VELUX EHF FINAL4

In 1998, the LANXESS arena in Cologne opened its doors for the first time. Twelve years later, the VELUX EHF FINAL4 had its first appearance in Germany’s biggest multi-purpose arena.

Since then the LANXESS arena has sold out for all eight editions of the pinnacle event in European club handball, the VELUX EHF Champions League: two times 20,000 fans each year.

When Vardar Skopje raised the trophy in Cologne last year, another sports fairy tale was written in the LANXESS arena. The VELUX EHF FINAL4 2017 was a crucial part of a record-breaking year for the sport and concert location: 2,167,644 people attended 216 events in the LANXESS arena, more than ever before.

One main reason for the new best mark was another top sport event, the IIHF World Championship. A total of 461,000 hockey fans from all over the globe saw 34 matches as the LANXESS arena hosted the event for the third time. Also, top music acts such as Phil Collins, Black Sabbath, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Bruno Mars, Aerosmith or Elton John were magnets for fans.

No. 1 location in Germany and continental Europe

The record not only confirms LANXESS arena as the clear No. 1 location in Germany in 2017 - ahead of arenas in Berlin (1,198.992 visitors), Mannheim (934,173) and Hamburg (866,259). The venue is also the No. 1 in continental Europe, and the No. 6 worldwide by the number of visitors.

Two times 20,000 handball fans from more than 25 countries attended the four matches of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2017. The same number is expected for this year’s edition on 26/27 May, and again in 2019, when the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will celebrate its 10th anniversary at its ‘home.’

The current contract of EHF Marketing GmbH and LANXESS arena expires in 2020. Just two weeks ago, the date for the 2019 edition was confirmed by David Szlezak, managing director of EHF Marketing, and Stefan Löcher, managing director of the LANXESS arena.

“The LANXESS Arena has become a place of pilgrimage for sports and music fans, more than 2.1 million fans are a kind of dream result for the arena and for the City of Cologne. Thanks to the LANXESS arena, Cologne has become this magnet,” said Lord Major Henriette Reker on Monday, when the 2018 programme for the LANXESS arena was unveiled.

Shaping the image of Cologne

According to scientific studies, the LANXESS arena generates an annual turnover of €500 million in the Cologne region.

“The sport events in the LANXESS arena, such as the VELUX EHF FINAL4, or the show and music acts shape the image of Cologne like the arena shape Cologne’s silhouette. It is a major part of our emotional infrastructure,” said Josef Sommer, managing director of the Cologne Tourism Board.

While the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018 will be staged on 26/27 May in the LANXESS arena, the trophy has already arrived in Cologne. The four participating teams will be confirmed by the end of April after the quarter-finals.

Also, many global music stars, such as U2, Justin Timberlake or Queen, will be on the arena’s stage this year. And another major handball event is less than a year away as main round matches of the Men’s IHF World Championship 2019, co-hosted by Germany and Denmark, will take place in the LANXESS arena in January.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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