25 March 2006

Replica stadium coming to Berlin

BerlinBear avatarGermany is in the grip of World Cup fever. Barely a day passes here without some new story about the upcoming World Cup, whether it's doubt about the safety of the stadiums, concern about the abilities of the German national team, a tabloid-led campaign against Jürgen Klinsmann - the national coach, or controversy over how the army could be used to beef up security during the World Cup. (For historical reasons, Germans are very jumpy about any domestic military activity at all).

This week's big story, here in Berlin at least, was the announcement that Adidas plans to build a replica of the Berlin stadium, the Olympiastadion, as well as a surrounding "soccer park", on the lawn in front of the German parliament. Built on a scale of 1:3.3, the mini-stadium will seat around 10,000 fans, who will be able to watch games on giant screens and generally soak up the World Cup atmosphere, despite not having been able to gain tickets to the actual matches. It's apparently going to look something like the computer-generated image on the right. According to Deutsche Welle, tickets to the soccer park will cost just €1 and to the replica stadium itself just €3, with that money going to charity.
All 64 World Cup games are to be broadcast on giant screens on the grounds at the Reichstag. Adidas expects up to 70,000 visitors per day.

Yet the action will not be limited to passive spectating. Around the stadium, soccer fields will be set up. Tournaments are supposed to be held. Schools are encouraged to take field trips to the park and play soccer. Also, no World Cup in Germany would be complete without a beer garden. The public in general should have a good time.

Even on those few days when soccer players and fans have the day off from the tournament, the mini-stadium will host concerts. US hip-hop group "The Black Eyed Peas" are scheduled for June 28. English singer-songwriter James Blunt is scheduled to perform on July 7.

Sounds like a good idea to me. I might just have to head along and check it out when the time comes.

; ; ;