HSH Nordbank Arena is the municipal stadium of Hamburg, Germany. It is the home ground of the Hamburger SV football team and was one of the 12 stadiums used in the 2006 Football World Cup, which hosted four group games and a quarter final. The arena was known as the Volksparkstadion until 2001 when AOL Time Warner bought the naming rights until July 2007.
After a long break the stadium was finally renovated. Between 1951 and 1953 the stadium was rebuilt. On 12 July the stadium was opened under its new name Volksparkstadion (The People's Park Stadium). Most of the building materials came from the ruins of Eimsbüttel, a district of Hamburg destroyed under Allied bombing. The new stadium could hold up to 75,000 and continued to be used for the various sporting events of the city.
In 1963, when HSV qualified for the newly created Bundesliga, they moved into the Volksparkstadion, a stadium that was both larger and more modern then Rothenbaum. At this time, FC Altona missed out on the opportunity and has struggled ever since. HSV then began to see some success in the Bundesliga and managed to maintain their status for years to come. HSV won titles in 1979, 1982, and 1983.
In May 1998 HSV decided to replace the unpopular Volksparkstadion with a brand new stadium, not only to help Germany get ready to host the Football World Cup, but also because it was getting harder and harder to meet the safety standards with such an old facility. The old stadium was totally demolished and the new arena was rotated 90° to provide an equal viewing experience for all the stands and to take advantage of sunlight. The estimated cost of the new stadium was €90-100 million. The new arena serves both as a football ground and a concert hall. The capacity of the stadium during club matches is 57,274, which is reduced to 51.500 during international matches when the standing sections in the north grandstand are converted into seated areas. The building permit for the new arena was issued on 30 April 1998. The new stadium got rid of the track and field facilities that increased the distance between the pitch and the stands. The stadium was inaugurated in 2000 when Germany played Greece; the home team won 2-0. With the new stadium, HSV has managed to attain an average attendance of 50,000. In 2004 a museum dedicated to the history of HSV was opened.
In 2001 AOL bought the naming rights to the Volksparkstadion for 15.3 million euro. This contract, with HSV, ran out in 2006 but had a provision to be renewed. However, as in many cases when naming rights are sold to corporate giants, many locals still refer to the stadium by its former name.
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