Handball EURO 2024 Düsseldorf
Handball EURO 2024 Düsseldorf
Handball EURO 2024 Düsseldorf

Temporary grandstands set a new spectator world record

On January 10, 2024, the European Handball Championship 2024 kicked off in Düsseldorf and immediately broke the spectator world record. More than 50,000 fans cheered on the opening matches in the MERKUS SPIEL-ARENA. NUSSLI equipped the stadium with 8,700 temporary grandstand seats for the handball spectacle and created a "witches' cauldron atmosphere".

January 2024

Handball pitch instead of football turf

Within eight days, the most unusual venue of the entire 2024 European Handball Championships was created. The football turf was removed and the resulting surface was covered with tiles. For the handball pitch, a sprung floor and a handball rubber floor were also laid on the playing surface. The event construction specialist NUSSLI erected four grandstands with a total of around 8,700 seats around this infield. The stands were designed with a slight incline so that the fans in the existing stands behind them still had the best view of the pitch. "The challenge was to find a grandstand solution that would bring as many seats as possible close to the pitch and at the same time minimize the number of obstructed and therefore unusable seats in the existing stands behind. We were able to meet these requirements perfectly with our flexible grandstand system and the particularly flat slope we chose," explains Jens Hesse, Sales Manager at NUSSLI. Only the lowest eight rows of seats in the existing grandstands remained unoccupied. And just over two weeks after the opening games, Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC St. Pauli will face each other again on the football pitch in the same stadium.

Opening matches sold out early

With the temporary additional seats inside, the MERKUS SPIEL-ARENA reached its target capacity of over 50,000 seats. All tickets for the opening matches were sold out long before the start of the European Handball Championship. Markus Schober, CEO of the German Handball Federation DHB, expressed his delight in an interview: "We are overwhelmed that we have beaten the world record so early and sold more than 50,000 tickets for the opening match day. This shows the importance of the EHF EURO 2024 and the enthusiasm of the German handball public." The conversion was enormously complex, but was completed in just a few days. On January 2, 2024, NUSSLI started the construction of the four stands and the 16 m2 podium with a 28-strong assembly team. Prior to this, the NUSSLI project team had prepared the logistics and assembly for the temporary event structures in just over two months.

Flexibly adaptable venue

There are several reasons why the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA was ideally suited for the world record games. The hall roof can be closed and a temperature of 18 to 20 degrees can be achieved with additional radiant heaters in the stadium. And: all spectators had the best view of the pitch from their seats. With their seats right next to the pitch, the temporary stands offered an intense match atmosphere and perfect sporting images. And as with the football matches that usually take place in the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA, the handball fans in the upper tier were also able to experience the action on the pitch up close via LED walls.

More spectators, more excitement

By the way: NUSSLI's event construction specialists already transformed a football stadium into a handball arena for the 28th IHF Men's Handball World Championship in Poland and Sweden in 2023. Back then, the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm became a handball arena, where 22,000 spectators were able to experience the matches live and with a great event atmosphere. Just like the organizers of the two handball world championships, more and more organizers are using temporary event structures to make their sporting and other events accessible to a wide audience as a live experience. And thus gain even more enthusiasm and fans. Thanks to the system construction method with reusable elements, temporary structures can be planned and implemented for any size of event and dismantled without leaving any residue after the event. Stadium operators also benefit from even more usage options if they can flexibly adapt their sports facilities for smaller events.

NUSSLI Group - about us

As the world's leading event and construction service provider, NUSSLI helps to ensure that emotions can be experienced first-hand at sports, cultural and business projects. We are an international leader in project management and the structural implementation of complex infrastructures for events and facilities that have to be realized under time pressure.

Our founder Heini Nüssli revolutionized event construction with the invention of the wedge coupler. Like the wedge coupling of that time, NUSSLI has been creating the connections that make unforgettable events possible ever since. In and with our projects, we connect service providers and clients, the organizers with the audience, countries and cultures, expectations and emotions. Connections - since 1941.


Marike van der Ben

Marike van der Ben

Head of Marketing & Communication
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