Sofa, so good as German fans bring home comforts to stadium
Armchair supporters pack 780 couches into Berlin sports arena to enjoy Brazil World Cup
People sit on sofas in the Alte Foersterei Stadium, home to second Bundesliga league team Union Berlin. Photograph: Inga Kjer/EPA
Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Berlin’s Union soccer club has invited its supporters to bring their sofas to its stadium to watch World Cup soccer matches on a giant screen in a communal ‘living room’ atmosphere. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Photograph: Inga Kjer/EPA
Fans in Germany have found a novel way to celebrate this month’s feast of football from their own living room... sort of.
For the duration of the World Cup, Berlin’s Stadion An der Alten Forsterei has been transformed into a giant living room equipped with an enormous television screen that will broadcast all the matches live.
Revellers are even encouraged to bring their own couch to the venue in a move that brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘armchair supporter’.
Some 3,500sq m of rather garish wallpaper has also been erected around the big screen to complete the home comfort effect, and the gathering has already proven a hit with the public as a total of 780 sofas were registered for the first night’s action.
An estimated 12,000 people were in attendance to watch hosts Brazil dispose of Croatia, with latecomers relegated to the relative discomfort of the surrounding stands. The unusual spectacle was organised by a local events agency who are confident that the bumper crowds will continue, particularly for Germany’s opener against Portugal on Monday.
With fan gatherings being organised in New York, London’s Exchange Square and Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach, it’s no oddity that viewers want to experience football’s biggest tournament in a communal atmosphere.
It is a concept that Clare hurling fans are familiar with after Ennis Town Council organised a large screen for supporters to watch last year’s All-Ireland final from the town square, and who knows, they may yet draw inspiration from the enterprising Berliners if Davy Fitzgerald’s team reaches this year’s September showpiece.