Merkur Spiel-Arena

Merkur Spielarena (stylized as MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA), previously known as the Esprit Arena (until 2 August 2018), the LTU Arena (until June 2009), and as the Düsseldorf Arena (during the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest), is a multi-functional football stadium in Düsseldorf, Germany. The stadium holds 54,600[3] and has a retractable roof. Its special heating system allows the stadium to host comfortable events at the height of winter.

Merkur Spiel-Arena
Exterior view of Merkur Spiel-Arena and Stadtbahnwagen B
Former namesLTU Arena (2004–2009)
Esprit Arena (2009–2018)
LocationDüsseldorf, Germany
Coordinates51°15′42″N 6°43′59″E
OwnerCity of Düsseldorf
Executive suites27
8 (event suites)
Capacity54,600 (9,917 standing)
66,500 (concerts)[1]
Field size100 m × 70 m (330 ft × 230 ft)
Opened10 September 2004 (2004-09-10)
Construction cost240 million
ArchitectJSK Architekten[2]
Fortuna Düsseldorf (2004–present)
Germany national football team (selected matches)
Bayer Leverkusen (2008–2009)
KFC Uerdingen (2019–2020)


Aerial view of Messe Düsseldorf in District 5, including the Arena on the far left

Construction of the stadium began in 2002 and was completed in 2004. It was built to replace the former Rheinstadion at the same site near the river Rhine. The structure's initial seating capacity of 51,500 was expanded in summer 2010 when some seating areas were converted into standing terraces. The arena currently hosts association football team Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Sports events

International football matches

While the Arena was not one of the venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, it has hosted several international matches since it opened.

The first international match in the Arena was an international friendly between Germany and Argentina on 9 February 2005, ending in a 2–2 draw. On 7 February 2007, Germany played their second international friendly in the Arena, beating Switzerland 3–1. In their third international friendly in the Arena, on 11 February 2009, Germany suffered a 1–0 defeat to Norway.

The Arena also hosted two international friendlies of the Portugal national football team. In Portugal's first international friendly in the Arena, on 1 March 2006, they recorded a 3–0 win over Saudi Arabia. On 26 March 2008, Portugal played their second international friendly in the Arena, suffering a 2–1 defeat to Greece national football team.

Other sports events

The stadium was the former home of the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, an American football league. They were tenants for their final three seasons from 2005 to 2007. The stadium hosted World Bowl XIII and XIV. Esprit Arena hosted the Race of Champions 2010, with notable drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost and Sébastien Loeb.

The Esprit Arena was the host venue for boxing world heavyweight championship bouts: between Wladimir Klitschko and Eddie Chambers on 20 March 2010 (Klitschko won the bout by KO in the 12th round), Wladimir Klitschko against Jean-Marc Mormeck on 3 March 2012 (Klitschko won by KO in the 4th round), Wladimir Klitschko against Tyson Fury on 28 November 2015 (see Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury (Fury won by a unanimous points decision)).

Music events

German Singer Herbert Grönemeyer opened the arena with two concerts on 7 and 8 January 2005 as conclusion of his Mensch-Tour. On 8 June 2011, he returned with his Schiffsverkehr Tour.

The German rock band Die Toten Hosen, which is based in Düsseldorf, gave a total of three concerts in the arena. The first one on 10 September 2005 as last concert of their Friss Oder Stirb Tour. They returned to the homeground of their favourite football team for two more concerts on 11 and 12 October 2013 as final of their Krach der Republik Tour.

Phil Collins played the arena four times: First as a solo artist during his First Final Farewell Tour on 12 and 13 November 2005 and then again with his band Genesis during their Turn It On Again Tour on 26 and 27 June 2007.

Another German singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen played a concert at the arena on 2 December 2005.

The Rolling Stones played the arena three times: First on 12 August 2007 during the Bigger Bang Tour, then again on 19 June 2014 as part of the 14 On Fire Tour and on 9 October 2017 during the No Filter Tour.

Bon Jovi performed at the stadium on 13 May 2006 during their Have A Nice Day Tour, in front of a sold-out crowd of 47,862 people. The band performed at the stadium for the second time on 13 July 2011 during their Live 2011, in front of a sold-out crowd of 43,625 people.

On 16 June 2008, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the arena as part of the Magic Tour for more than 33,000 people.

Coldplay played the arena on 27 August 2009 as part of their Viva La Vida Tour.

Esprit Arena with Eurovision Song Contest 2011 wrapping

On New Year's Eve 2008, the dance music event Sensation was held with an attendance of over 15,000.

Depeche Mode performed at the stadium six times: the first and the second were on 20 and 21 January 2006 during their Touring the Angel. The third and the fourth were on 26 and 27 February 2010 during their Tour of the Universe, in front of a total crowd of 90,693 people. The fifth and the sixth were on 3 and 5 July 2013 during their Delta Machine Tour, in front of a total sold-out crowd of 87,308 people. The 2010 shows were recorded for the group's live albums project Recording the Universe.

The arena has played host to music festivals, including Projekt Revolution.

Esprit Arena hosted the 56th Eurovision Song Contest in 2011.

Madonna played two concerts in 2006 and 2008 during her Confessions Tour and Sticky & Sweet Tour, respectively, at the venue.

The Black Eyed Peas brought their The Beginning Tour to the arena on 28 June 2011.

On 25 July 2011, British pop band Take That performed in the arena with opening act Pet Shop Boys.

On 18 June 2011 and 6 September 2013, Roger Waters performed The Wall live at the arena.

On 7 June 2014, German Singer Udo Lindenberg performed a concert.

One Direction (with opening act by 5 Seconds of Summer) performed on 2 July 2014 a sold-out concert for a crowd of 44,684 people as part of their Where We Are Tour.

On 5 September 2015, the festival Rock im Sektor took place at the arena with concerts by Linkin Park, Broiler, Kraftklub and others.

Paul McCartney performed on 28 May 2016 during his worldwide One On One tour.

On 15 June 2016, Australian rock band AC/DC performed the last European concert of their Rock Or Bust Tour at the arena.

On 12 July 2016, Beyoncé performed at the stadium as part of her The Formation World Tour.

Naming rights

The naming rights to the stadium are currently held by gambling company Gauselmann.[4]

From July 2009 to August 2018, the clothing manufacturer Esprit held the naming rights.[5] Prior to July 2009, the German airline LTU held the naming rights.

Düsseldorf's mayor Dirk Elbers stated that, due to treaty obligations, the arena would lose its sponsor name and be renamed Düsseldorf Arena for the period of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 which was held there in May 2011.[6]

A panorama of Merkur Spielarena

Public transport

A train of the Düsseldorf Stadtbahn at Merkur Spiel-Arena/Messe Nord station

Merkur Spiel-Arena/Messe Nord is a terminus station of the Düsseldorf urban rail line 78, part of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR).

Preceding station   Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn   Following station


  1. Archived 16 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Esprit Arena Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895: ESPRIT arena" (in German). Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  4. "Esprit-Arena heißt bald Merkur Spielarena: Fortuna Düsseldorf hofft auf Vorteile durch Stadion-Deal" (in German). Rheinische Post. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  5. "Neuer Namensgeber vorgestellt" (in German). 16 March 2009. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  6. "Sieben Live-Shows beim Eurovision Song Contest" (in German). Der Westen. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.