Thunder moves to Olympic Stadium
November 28, 2002 - National Football League Europa (NFLE) News Release
THE Berlin Thunder will defend its World Bowl title in the historic setting of Berlin's Olympic Stadium when the 2003 NFL Europe League season kicks off next April.
The Thunder, winner of the last two World Bowls, announced the move after four years of playing at the Jahnstadion.
General manager MICHAEL LANG said: "This is a very important day in the history of Berlin Thunder. It is a dream come true to move to the Olympic Stadium and it means the start of a new era for the Thunder. After two championships we will now play in the most prestigious stadium in Berlin. We had four great years at the Jahnstadion but it was time to step up to a higher level. The prestige of playing in the city's premier stadium will enhance our games and we can now offer the people of Berlin a great event in a fantastic atmosphere - an outstanding mix of sports action and entertainment."
Thunder head coach PETER VAAS added: "It is great for us to be playing at this wonderful stadium. The atmosphere is simply breathtaking and it will be a great feeling for everybody involved - players, coaches and fans. This move was vital for us to achieve the next level of recognition in Berlin and I promise that everybody will experience a fantastic day with the Thunder when they come to Olympic Stadium."
HANS-WOLF ZOPFY, spokesman for WALTER BAU-AG vereinigt mit DYWIDAG, the company responsible for renovating the stadium, said: "We are really happy that we have another high class sports event, in addition to Hertha BSC, staging games at Olympic Stadium. The Thunder's move highlights the importance of the stadium in Berlin and Germany. We have always supported the Thunder's move and we have found a plan that supports Hertha BSC, Berlin Thunder and the renovation of the Olympic Stadium."
INGO SCHILLER, general manager of Hertha BSC, said: "We are looking forward to a great cooperation with the Thunder and we wish them all the best in their new stadium. Both teams will benefit from each other using the Olympic Stadium."
The new home of Berlin Thunder was built for the 1936 Olympic Games and is one of the most historic stadiums in Germany. Between 1990 and 1995 it hosted five American Bowl games between NFL teams. The current renovation of the stadium is scheduled to be completed in 2004 and the stadium will be used for the 2006 soccer World Cup, including staging the final itself.
Lang added: "Many people have worked hard to make this move possible and I thank Mr. Zopfy and everybody at the Walter Bau-AG, Mr. Schiller and Hertha BSC and Senator Klaus Böger and his Staatssekretär, Thomas Härtel, for the part they have played."
When construction work is finished, Olympic Stadium will seat 76,000 people and will feature an additional 4,500 business seats and 113 VIP suites. During the reconstruction, the capacity will be 55,000.
The Thunder's move means that three NFL Europe teams will have new permanent homes for 2003, including the F.C. Barcelona Dragons, who will stage all their games the Nou Camp's Miniestadi, and the Rhein Fire, who have moved to the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen.
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