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Düsseldorf stadium changes identity for Fortuna’s Bundesliga return

Fortuna Düsseldorf will return to the German Bundesliga with a new-look stadium after gambling and gaming company Gauselmann Gruppe acquired naming rights to the football club’s home.

The deal officially renames the stadium as the Merkur Spielarena. Gauselmann Gruppe agreed the deal with the D.Live event management company. The 10-year contract officially starts on August 3.

Gauselmann Gruppe replaces clothing manufacturer Esprit as the naming-rights sponsor of the 54,000-seat stadium. The company will sponsor a number of Düsseldorf-based sports teams and athletes as part of the agreement.

The stadium’s managing director Burkhard Hintzsche said: “With Gauselmann, we have not only found a long-term sponsor for the sports and events arena, but also a partner who sustainably supports the sports city of Düsseldorf and its clubs.

“For the first time in the history of the city, the stadium will operate debt-free and economically in the foreseeable future. With the sponsorship of Düsseldorfer EG, the Düsseldorfer Panther, the Rhein Vikings, the women’s team of the Düsseldorfer Hockeyclubs (DHC), women’s football and the Tokyo Olympic team, the development of Düsseldorf’s competitive sports will be permanently secured.”

Paul Gauselmann, chief executive and founder of the Gauselmann Gruppe, added: “Even though our headquarters are located in the extreme north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia and therefore far away from Düsseldorf, we, as a well-known sponsor of sports, health and culture, have long been in the capital of the state and therefore have a clear presence and commitment to NRW.

“Being naming partner of the arena and partner of the sports city of Dusseldorf is a unique offer, which we gladly accepted, because it also suits us as a company of the leisure industry.”

Fortuna won the second-tier 2.Bundesliga last season to secure a return to the top flight following a five-year absence.