Ready, set, go: Sports in Berlin
The Berlin Marathon, the Istaf Athletics Meeting and the DFB Cup Final are visitor magnets, but they also have a tremendous economic and advertising impact. Indeed, sports events continue to bring thousands of athletes to the city, which, in turn, attracts national and international audiences that bring considerable purchasing power. This cycle has positive effects on the city’s employment figures; more than 2,900 companies and self-employed individuals work in the sports industry in Berlin.
Over two thirds of them are active in sports-related services, followed by the sports retail and sporting equipment sectors. One industry that profits considerably from sporting events is the hotel and restaurant sector. Berlin offers roughly 800 hotels and other non-private accommodations with more than 142,000 beds. In total, the Berlin sports industry generates an annual turnover of more than €1 billion and employs almost 20,000 people.
Berlin has an excellent international reputation as a venue for major sporting events. The capital has proven its excellent hosting abilities on many occasions, whether it be the 2006 Soccer World Cup, the 2009 World or the 2018 European Championships in Athletics. Sporting events inevitably give the city a tremendous image boost and also function as a major tourist attraction. The most famous sports hotspot is probably the 75,000-capacity Olympiastadion with its unique blue running track. The large Olympic grounds also comprise the Sportforum, the Olympia Hockey Stadium, the Olympia Equestrian Stadium, the Olympic Swimming Pool, the Waldbühne concert venue, the vast field known as the Maifeld and much more.
Berlin also has several facilities that serve as additional venues for sports and other activities, including the Sportforum Hohenschönhausen, the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sport Park, the Mercedes Benz Arena, the Max Schmeling Hall and the Velodrome. In total, Berlin has more than 2,000 facilities that can act as venues for competitive and recreational sports.
The “Big Six”
Berlin is home to six national teams: Hertha BSC (soccer), Eisbären Berlin (ice hockey), Alba Berlin (basketball), 1. FC Union (soccer), Füchse Berlin (handball) and Berlin Recycling Volleys (volleyball).
In addition to these “Big Six,” there are also a further 145 national teams at home in the capital. Taken together, these teams attract almost one million visitors from outside the city each year, roughly 92% of which can be attributed to the Big Six.
The most recent statistics from 2011/2012 indicate that Berlin visitors who attend sporting events and home games of Berlin-based national teams generated a primary economic stimulus of roughly €129.1 million. Sports clubs and associations – led by the Big Six, but also including other popular annual sporting events – are important engines behind the development of the sports economy in Berlin.
Text: Simone Fendler | The article was published in Berlin to go 02/2018
Header image: Berlin Partner/FTB-Werbefotografie