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Economist: SV Hamburg/St Pauli relegation could harm Olympic bid

Germany
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Hamburg (dpa) - Looming relegation for Hamburg‘s leading football clubs SV Hamburg and St Pauli will have a negative impact on the city‘s bid for the 2024 Olympics, a local economist said.

Hennig Voepel, director of the Hamburg Insititute of International Economics (HWWI) told Tuesday‘s edition of the Hamburger Abendblatt paper that the possible drop of the clubs could also see the local economy lose some 50 million euros (53 million dollars) - with the transport and food service industry to be hit hardest.

SV Hamburg are bottom of the Bundesliga and face a first ever drop from the top tier since it was inaugurated 1963. St Pauli are third bottom in the second division.

"Double relegation of HSV and St Pauli would have considerable consequeneces regarding the positioning and profiling of Hamburg as a sports city - especially concerning the Olympic bid," Voepel said.

"The presence of professional sports clubs is highly important for sustainable marketing of a sports location."

Voepel cited American rival Olympic bidder Boston, a city widely recognized through its professional sports clubs Celtics (basketball), Bruins (ice hockey) and Red Sox (baseball).

SV Hamburg are 1983 European Champions and three-time Bundesliga winners whose past players uncluded greats Uwe Seeler, Kevin Keegan and Horst Hrubesch. St Pauli, based in the heart of the city‘s red light and entertainment district, have a cult following which extends beyond the city and country.

German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) Alfons Hoermann had cited worldwide recognition only on Monday when they unveiled Kiel as sailing venue for Hamburg‘s bid.

"We chose the town with a worldwide reputation in sailing," Hoermann said of the Baltic Sea port which staged the sailing events of the 1936 Berlin Games and 1972 Olympics in Munich, and is the home of the world‘s largest sailing event, the annual Kiel Week.

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