Double delight for Germany’s Lanxess Arena



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Cologne Lanxess Arena Image: EuroLeague

The Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, has obtained the hosting rights to basketball’s 2021 EuroLeague Final Four, along with being confirmed as the venue for the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) Final4 later this year.

Lanxess Arena is an indoor arena, in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The arena which can pack in 18,500 spectators is the home of the ice hockey club Kölner Haie. The arena opened in 1998 and can accommodate 20,000 people when it comes to concerts. With its capacity of 18,500, it is the largest ice hockey arena outside North America.

The EuroLeague Final Four is the final four format championship of the European-wide top-tier level EuroLeague professional club basketball competition.

Earlier, Euroleague Basketball was due to stage this year’s edition of its sporting extraordinaire in the German City, only to cancel its 2019-20 competitions back in May this year due to the severe impact of COVID-19 globally.

Cologne will now become the focal point of European basketball from May 28-30, 2021, with the Lanxess Arena to stage the prestigious event.

“In the same way that we honored the aspirations of the teams whose seasons were cut short last spring, we were equally determined to bring the Final Four to Cologne for the same compelling reasons that we originally chose to go there,” stated Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and head honcho.

“Staging the first Final Four of this decade in a superb arena and a vibrant major City without its own team in our competitions shows how dedicated we are to bringing new fans to the EuroLeague,” Bertomeu added.

Cologne joins two-time host Berlin, which was the setting in 2009 and 2016, as the second German City to host the event this century. Cologne also becomes the fourth City without a local Euroleague Basketball club to host a Final Four this century. The 2021 Final Four will culminate a season in which two German teams, basketball clubs Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich, will be among those competing, bringing to sharp focus the importance of Germany as a key market for Euroleague Basketball.

Alba Berlin is a renowned German professional basketball club that is based in Berlin, Germany. The club was founded in 1991, and is today the largest German national basketball club by membership figures. FC Bayern Munich is a professional basketball club, a part of the FC Bayern Munich sports club, based in Munich, Germany. The club competes domestically in the Basketball Bundesliga and internationally in the EuroLeague.

Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, put in, “Euroleague Basketball’s announcement that Cologne’s Lanxess Arena is to host the 2021 Final Four is an important signal in general as well as for Cologne as a City of sports. It’s essential we do everything we possibly can to make sure sporting and cultural events really can take place again – with spectators – next year.”

“I’m delighted for the basketball teams, the fans, Lanxess Arena, which has been hit hard by the corona pandemic, and, of course, our City that, after the cancellation of the 2020 event, EuroLeague has decided to keep Cologne as the host,” Reker added.

Meanwhile, the EHF has claimed a significant step forward in its ‘Back to Handball’ strategy after confirming that its 2020 Final4 will remain in its traditional home – Lanxess Arena – and will be held from December 28th -29th , 2020, with fans expected to attend the competition.

The news represents confirmation of the long-standing partnership between the EHF, EHF Marketing, the City of Cologne and Lanxess Arena which has seen 10 successful editions of the EHF’s club competition showpiece since 2010. In December 2018, a deal was struck to extend the hosting agreement through to 2024.

Preparations for the 2020 spectacle are underway and different concepts are being devised on how to ensure that spectators are present. The spectator plans drawn up will be discussed with the authorities in Cologne and in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as with partners such as the Lanxess Arena.

Despite the challenges being thrown up due to the COVID-19 environment, the EHF said interest in the event has remained high and less than three percent of all tickets sold have been returned. However, in order to create the ideal capacity concept, all tickets that have already been purchased will be refunded. Depending on the final arena set-up, a new sales process may be initiated.

David Szlezak, EHF Marketing Managing Director, said, “’We play handball’ is one of our core claims. With the health situation and the Velux EHF Final4 in mind, this can be translated to ‘We Want To Play’ because we believe it’s in the best interest of the sport and its partners.”

The VELUX EHF FINAL4 is the undisputed highlight of European club handball and one of the most prestigious sports events in Europe. Fans from across the globe gather to celebrate when Europe’s top teams fight for the coveted trophy of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

The qualified teams for the 2020 Final4 are Barça (Spanish handball team), Paris Saint-Germain HB (French professional handball club), THW Kiel (handball club from Germany) and Telekom Veszprém HC (Hungary handball team).

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