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Fortuna Düsseldorf take rights in-house as Infront deal not renewed

Marcin Kaminski of Fortuna Duesseldorf (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

German Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf is to market its sponsorship, stadium advertising and hospitality rights in-house from the 2020-21 season onwards after opting against renewing its agreement with the Infront agency.

Infront Germany, the agency’s German arm, has marketed Fortuna Düsseldorf’s commercial rights since 2009 but its current agreement, which expires at the end of the 2019-20 season, will not be extended.

Thomas Röttgermann, Fortuna Düsseldorf’s chief executive, said: “We thank Infront for the trustful and successful co-operation for more than ten years. The partnership was important for the development of Fortuna and played its part in Fortuna being able to return to the Bundesliga.”

Röttgermann, who came on board as chief executive in April and is from an agency background himself from his time at rival Sportfive (now Lagardère Sports), described the in-house move as “the next logical step towards a successful future”.

However, the club said that talks are being held with Infront about continuing to work together in a “selective” manner.

Christian Koke, who arrived as chief marketing officer earlier in the year, added: “It is not a decision against Infront but a deliberate choice for in-house marketing. We want to increase our revenues and the step towards self-marketing makes us more competitive, more independent and brings us closer to out partners”.

Fortuna made their return to the top-tier 1. Bundesliga in 2018-19 and currently lie 16th in the table.

Upon their return to the top flight, chemical and consumer goods firm Henkel upgraded its sponsorship to become the side’s shirt sponsor. Henkel signed a two-year deal that expires at the end of the 2019-20 season and is reported to be worth around €4m ($4.4m) per year.

German sportswear firm Uhlsport came on board in 2017-18 as Fortuna’s kit supplier, replacing Puma in an agreement said to be worth €450,000 per year in the 2. Bundesliga and up to €1m per year in the 1. Bundesliga.

Röttgermann was previously the managing director of VfL Wolfsburg, having joined the Bundesliga club in 2010. At Sportfive, he was one of the managing directors at the agency’s Germany-based operations.