frankfurt likes to describe itself as a sports city. This is an undefined term and with all the successes of Eintracht or offers on a broad basis, it can easily be discredited when you look at deficits such as the lack of a multifunctional hall. On Saturday evening, however, Frankfurt is something like the sports capital of Germany.
A large part of the elite of German sports appeared at the Ball des Sports: 91 medal winners at the Olympic Winter Games, World or European Championships from the past year did the honors in the Festhalle to celebrate themselves and their successes. They were led by multiple Olympic luge champion Felix Loch and European decathlon champion Niklas Kaul. That’s what makes this evening so special for me,” says Kaul, who found his way from Mainz to Frankfurt after a day with a competition in Ludwigshafen and a state athlete election, as he walked the red carpet.
Meeting of sport and economy
The track and field athlete got his money’s worth: Germany’s currently best athletes met dozens of former sports stars from Ulrike Nasse-Meyfarth to Marika Kilius, Michael Groß, Renate Stecher and Matthias Steiner to Fabian Hambüchen, Kristina Vogel and Franziska van Almsick, who was a member of the supervisory board of course, Sporthilfe also plays the role of host. According to information from the FAZ, among the celebrants was a delegation from the New England Patriots, who are currently in Germany for talks in preparation for their NFL game, which will probably take place in Frankfurt. And the athletes got into conversation with the biggest sponsors of German sport from business and politics: for example the Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD), who is responsible for sport, Deutsche Bank boss Christian Sewing or Mercedes boss Ola Källenius. Sewing emphasized that most Olympic athletes, with their diligence in training, mostly live virtues alongside their studies or work, which are also important in the economy.
The meeting of sport, politics and economy, which has taken place annually since 1970, is a building block in the financing of competitive sports for the German Sports Aid Foundation as the organizer. The ball should also bring in a good 750,000 euros this year from donations from the 1500 guests and the sale of tickets for a highly attractive raffle. The ball is also supported by various sponsors. The city of Frankfurt and Lotto Hessen each contribute 400,000 euros to finance the costs for the festival hall and the design of the hall.
Above all, the commitment of the city made a decisive contribution to the Ball des Sports being able to find a new home in Hesse. In Wiesbaden, where the ball was held in the Rhein-Main-Halle for a decade and a half, the city council recently refused financial support. Sporthilfe had to start looking for a new location. Frankfurt, where the ball was first held in the Centennial Hall in 1970, ultimately prevailed.
Duel at the table tennis table
“If you have the opportunity to bring the largest benefit event in European sport to the most international city in Germany, then do it. We did it,” said Mike Josef, head of the sports department of the city of Frankfurt, who together with the paraplegic track cycling Olympic champion Kristina Vogel formed one of the eight selected couples in the opening dance. “The Ball des Sports stands for the breadth of the sport. When you see these athletes here, you know it’s the right thing to do.”
On the other hand, Eintracht even took a back seat that evening, although they had appeared at short notice with a rather proud delegation consisting of CEO Axel Hellmann, sports director Markus Krösche, coach Oliver Glasner and almost half a dozen players. “Football is not everything in sport. That’s what we stand for as Eintracht, we have 52 departments with the entire spectrum of sport,” says Hellmann. In his function as interim managing director of the German Football League, he also pointed out that the DFL has been supporting Olympic sports as a partner of Sporthilfe for many years.
This also includes, for example, table tennis. In this sport, as in many others, the ball guests can even become active themselves around midnight. For Prime Minister Boris Rhein an opportunity to open the election campaign on the red carpet. The CDU politician promised that he would not resist a duel in table tennis with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is likely to be his challenger in the state elections on October 8th.