When Germany hosted the men’s World Cup in 2006, fans followed the action on the pitch with thousands of strangers in parks, bars, and at block parties in the streets.
This year, organisers have again set up a host of public viewing venues, though turnout is not expected to be quite as large.
“This will be a very different World Cup,” said Klaus Peter Laux of Sportpark Leverkusen. “There won’t be many hordes of beer-drinking men singing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland’ this year.”
But Steffi Jones, president of Germany’s World Cup organising committee, maintained that public viewing would thrive at this summer’s tournament.
“This will help the wave of enthusiasm move from the stadiums to the cities and over the entire country,” she said.
Many German cities are offering public viewing, and the most prominent venues are listed below.
Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt will pour €10 million into public viewing events. As in 2006, matches will be broadcast on three giant projector screens floating on the Main River. The “Football Gardens” situated on the river banks between the Holbeinsteg and Untermainbrücke bridges expect some 200,000 visitors on the eve of the tournament, and are prepared for up to 1.5 million visitors overall, according to the Frankfurt tourism bureau.
The capital, which hosts only the opening match of the tournament, will not offer any organized viewing space, but public viewing is still likely to crop up. Stands are being built at the Bundespressestrand, a beach across the river Spree from the Bundestag building, while the “Discover Football” festival in Viktoria Park will also host pubic viewing for certain matches.
Football fever has taken over since FC Augsburg qualified for the first Bundesliga this spring, and the city is cashing in by showing all World Cup matches live at the Farmer’s Market, which holds between 1,200 and 1,400. The event will have food on offer from each of the 16 nations participating in the tournament, and another “Culture Stadium” is being built for public viewing at the central Rathausplatz.
The lawn of the public swimming pool next to Dresden’s World Cup stadium, will be equipped with two large projector screens and hold up to 5,000 spectators. The venue will show all matches played in Dresden, but only through the quarterfinal matches on July 10, when it resumes its regular function as just a pool.
A massive 43-square-metre projector screen at Kapuzinerplatz will broadcast all of Germany’s matches and all knockout rounds.
Bars in the “Bermuda Triangle,” a popular nightlife area, will show matches on televisions while two stages will provide space for music, entertainment and even prayer. Several thousand people are expected on match days.
The Luminaden shopping centre will show matches on two large public screens, while the Rathausvorplatz will host an array of entertainments, including an Abba cover band on Swedish matchdays. On July 3, pop singer Christina Stürmer will take over the square as part of the NRWM Fanfest concert series, for which some 12,000 spectators are expected.
A two-storey tent dubbed the “World Cup Cafe” will offer performances and international cuisine at the city’s Hugo Bork Platz, while public viewing of German matches will take place in front of a nearby shopping centre, with a capacity of up to 3,000.
The city of barely 35,000 will host up to 3,500 spectators at the main town square, the Burgplatz, and the stadium normally used by men’s club 1899 Hoffenheim will also be equipped for public viewing. A children’s festival will also take place on July 5.