The Allianz Arena is famous as the home of Bayern Munich. But few people know the stadium as an event location. Here’s a tour from the changing rooms to the hospitality boxes.
The lights, sounds and emotions are still missing, but then Kristina Kravcenko, Head of Events, flips a hidden switch and the staircase comes to life. Lamps glow red and the Champions League theme tune booms out of the loudspeakers. The faces of the Bayern players appear in rapid succession on screens next to the stairs. Walk down the stairs, through a kind of door at the bottom and another flight of stairs will take you down to the pitch – just like a top soccer star or a gladiator entering an ancient fighting arena. Kristina smiles, as she knows the effect of lights and sounds. "We often use the players' tunnel as a kind of welcoming gesture," she says.
So, welcome to the Allianz Arena in Munich! Where Bayern Munich play their home games and many national and international soccer matches take place. The stadium in the north of the city is a world-famous Munich landmark, its outer honeycombs glowing red and white in the evening. But what comparatively few people know is that the Allianz Arena is in demand not only for top-class sporting occasions, but also as an event location. In fact, up to 1,500 small- and large-scale events take place here every year.
Some visitors will find themselves in the players' tunnel at the start of an event. Kristina Kravcenko is one of the many people that make this possible. On this particular day, she is guiding visitors through the stadium and its ramified system of corridors, though many remain closed to most of the visitors. Even when soccer isn't being played, this soccer stadium is always busy. "Something happens here every day of the year," Kristina explains That's especially true in the run-up to Christmas when many companies have their Christmas parties. Kristina and her colleagues have even set up a Christmas market with booths.
If you're looking for a special event venue, come to the Arena. What’s more, your guests don't necessarily have to be Bayern Munich fans because the backdrop is simply overwhelming. Kristina leads the visitors from the players' tunnel to the edge of the pitch. Step for step, they get a better view of the vast stands, until they can see at least 75,000 seats in the round, blue sky above their heads, and green grass below. A groundsman mowing the lawn in the distance looks almost lost in the vast Arena. Further up in the stands, a group of visitors is about to follow their guide’s advice and test the acoustics. "Goal!" they shout, and the echo comes back almost instantly.
Some say that Bayern Munich play in a league of their own as the Bundesliga’s record champions. A tour of the Arena at least gives visitors an idea of how many cogs have to mesh together to make this happen. There are guided tours every day, except on match days, for thousands of tourists as well as for event guests because such events are often combined with a tour of the Arena. A little detour may also take visitors to the press room where coaches and players usually sit behind a desk and answer questions from the media. Or the changing rooms where the Bayern Munich jerseys are lined up in red lockers. Shorts, socks and towels are also ready and waiting. It’s almost as if Thomas Müller could walk in the door at any moment and start getting changed.
On most tours you don't get to see much of the hospitality space but Kristina makes an exception today. The elevator takes us up to the hospitality boxes. Some of them can be booked, and naturally the great views come free. Turn your head and you can see the pitch and the South Stand where the most fanatical Bayern fans cheer their team on during home games. The interior is also striking.
One room has light couches and dark bar stools; another an open kitchen framed by black marble; a third a wood-clad counter exuding rustic charm for urbanites; and a fourth room is set up for a meeting, with chairs in a circle and a flip chart. "We're very flexible," Kristina says. "Every room is set up differently." That way, she says, they can respond to any kind of request. There's even a sports bar, the Säbener Lounge, but the LED strip stretching across the dark counter is not lit up on this visit. The Business Club offers the most space as more than 2,000 people can be accommodated in banquet seating under a golden ceiling.
At this point, Kristina says her goodbyes. But some visits to the arena don't end in the conference room or the players' changing rooms. The Allianz Arena also has a museum with more than 3,000 m2 of exhibition space full of Bayern Munich memorabilia. All the Bundesliga trophies the club has ever won sparkle in the display cases, home jerseys from yesteryear hang on one wall. A walk-through installation shows players who have gained legendary status with the Bayern fans: Philipp Lahm donated his captain's armband to the museum and Bastian Schweinsteiger his gold medal from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The stage in the middle of the museum can also be used for events. Staging a meeting between so many trophies is bound to leave all the attendees with a bit of reflected glory.
The Allianz Arena offers a variety of tours, e.g. with a visit to the museum or for people of limited mobility. Special theme tours for groups are also available by special arrangement.
For more details see allianz-arena.com/touren
The Allianz Arena can also be hired for events. The smallest rooms accommodate up to 24 people, the largest more than 2,000.
For more details see allianz-arena.com/roomfinder and for inquiries eventsAA@doco.com