The future of cash-strapped German Ice Hockey League (DEL) club DEG Metro Stars remains in the balance with the side’s main sponsor set to leave at the end of the current season. Nevertheless, the departure of wholesaler Metro Group is being met by an outpouring of goodwill from concerned Düsseldorfers, not least from local punk band Die Toten Hosen.
On Monday, members of the band and Metro Stars managing director Elmar Schmellenkamp announced an innovative partnership that will see the production of a special edition jersey and the creation of two new sponsorship packages.
The one-off jersey, which will feature Die Toten Hosen’s skull and crossbones logo and the title of one of the band’s most popular songs “Alles aus Liebe” [All for Love], will be worn by players during pre-game warm-ups and, league approval pending, during a DEL regular season game next month. Proceeds from public sales of the €79 jersey will go directly to the club.
In addition, DEG Metro Stars will offer two new sponsorship packages to 'DEG Club 2012' members with the aim of securing funds from fans and local businesses. The so-called ‘Bekenner’ [Believer] and ‘Retter’[Saviour] packages will cost €10,000 and €20,000 respectively, and will include tickets, parking privileges, arena advertising, player appearances and free travel to away games.
You cannot simply watch and shrug your shoulders when a major sponsor withdraws
Meanwhile, local businessman Peter Hoberg has pledged €700,000 to the club, and the City of Düsseldorf has offered another €450,000 providing a sustainable financial plan can be put in place. Even so, it is estimated the team will need a further €2 million in order to compete at the highest level next season.
"You cannot simply watch and shrug your shoulders when a major sponsor withdraws," said lifelong Metro Stars fan and Die Toten Hosen lead singer Andreas Frege, who has personally snapped up a Believer package.
"The club has given me and our town so many hours of great emotions since my childhood. We now want to give something back. DEG shall not perish. It is now time to help.”
Incidentally, it is not the first time Die Toten Hosen has offered support to a sports team in its home city. From 2001 to 2003, the band sponsored the shirts of soccer side Fortuna Düsseldorf as the club struggled through a period of financial hardship. And despite slipping to the fourth tier of German soccer in 2002, the team now sits atop the 2. Bundesliga and in pole position to return to Germany’s top flight.
"At that time, few believed in Fortuna,” said Die Toten Hosen guitarist Michael Breitkopf. “Today the club stands on the verge of promotion back to the Bundesliga. We hope that it is a similar scenario for DEG."