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'Just the beginning' for Fifa museum as attraction targets 250,000 visitors in 2017

By Tom Anstey    14 Dec 2016
Despite financial woes in its opening year, the museum is already ranked in the top five most-visited in Zurich, also ranked third on TripAdvisor from public reviews

Despite a rocky start to life as a visitor attraction, Fifa’s football museum in Zurich plans to push on, targeting double the amount of visitors in 2017 in the build up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Opened on 28 February this year, the museum has had a turbulent beginning, opening in the midst of a corruption scandal within Fifa and then last month seeing its inaugural managing director, Stefan Jost, leave over “contrasting views” on its future development.

Last month the museum also announced losses of more than CHF30m (US$30.5m, €27.9m, £24.1m) in its first year, leaving many questioning the future of the project ordered by former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

“It’s just the beginning of the museum in its life,” said deputy director Hans-Georg Süssmann, speaking to Attractions Management. “The United Nations have 196 accepted nations and we’ve had 140 of them visit during July and August. The strategy was to get tourists to the museum but after being not long open, we’re really impressed with that.”

Despite financial woes in its opening year, the museum is already ranked in the top five most-visited in Zurich, also ranked third on TripAdvisor from public reviews. The museum can accept 800 visitors daily, equal to 292,000 visitors a year, but its target is less than that.

“The idea is to have 250,000 a year at full capacity,” said Süssmann. “Those are figures we could handle so it’s still a nice visit and not overcrowded.

“When foreign clubs come to play against Swiss clubs in the UEFA Cup and Champions League, we reach out to supporters groups. For example we had Paris St Germain, Arsenal and Fenerbahce, then we made them know we are here and come to the museum and we’ll give them a special discount. We’re trying to engage with the fans, which will hopefully boost our attendance.

“We’re also looking at holding leisure events for football fans. When you enter the museum you have the huge rainbow with all the 211 shirts of every member. We could include a stage in there with people sitting in the rainbow watching football on huge screens all around the place.”

The 3,000sq m (32,300sq ft) museum is part of a larger CHF150m (US$152.3m, €139.7m, £120.7m) development which includes the CHF30m (US$30.5m, €27.9m, £24.1m) museum, luxury apartments, a restaurant, a sports bar, a shop, FIFA office space and a conference centre

The museum last month confirmed plans to explore "new, innovative approaches" to keep the museum financially stable, with a working group now working on an improved business model, which will be presented to the Fifa Council in January 2017.

Fifa World Football Museum  Fifa  Football  Sepp Blatter  Stefan Jost  visitor attraction  museum 
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