Dresden's close knit fanbase and community have come together to support their beloved club in tumultuous times.
|Photo: Z thomas, CC BY-SA 3.0|
The Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion in Dresden is usually the scene of a sea of golden and black during home games, reminding one of Signal Iduna Park’s colour schemes and amphitheater roars - although with a capacity of just over 30,000.
On 23rd December 2020, Dynamo Dresden hosted 2. Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98 in the second round of the DFB-Pokal. They succumbed to a 0-3 defeat and the score line was the least interesting part of the clash between the clubs.
The former East German champions declared that they had sold approximately 72,000 ‘ghost tickets’ for the match against Darmstadt that was played in an empty stadium. 72,112. To be exact. A figure more than twice the home stadium’s capacity. The German third-tier side put the tickets for sale at 5 euro each and requested the fans to purchase them out of mutual support, passion and solidarity. Two values that the hardcore fans of the club are famously and infamously known for.
In times of great distress, clubs across the German league spectrum have been suffering without an end in sight. While many of them have been hit hard with an identity crisis, financial anguish has been the distinguishing factor for second and third tier teams as rely heavily on match day operations and ticket sales for revenue.
The club’s website read: “The proceeds of the entire ghost ticket campaign are intended to cushion the immense losses of SG Dynamo Dresden in the 2020/21 financial year. For the current season, SGD is foreseeing a total loss of up to 6 million euros, partly due to the lack of audience income.”
“Only two games in the club’s history had more people in attendance, both away games”, Dresden said. If the DDV Stadion could hold an additional 40,000 fans in capacity, it would have probably been SG Dynamo Dresden’s third-biggest crowd ever to watch them play.
In times of 'Geisterspiele', the ghost ticket campaign might have been an unprecedented success for the East German giants. But all did not go as planned during the German Cup match. A meticulously planned choreography to unleash an army of about 30,000 balloons had to be cancelled due to excessive wind speeds.