Berliners lug sofas to giant World Cup living room

Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:05am EDT
 
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By Emma Anderson

BERLIN (Reuters) - While others cram into crowded bars or squeeze around the television set at home, Berliners can follow the World Cup from the comfort of their own sofas in a stadium-sized living room on a 700-inch screen.

Berlin's Union Berlin soccer team, which plays in the second division, has turned its stadium into a vast "World Cup living room," allowing fans to transport their own sofa onto the pitch to watch the games for free.

At least 12,000 people are expected to watch Germany's first Group G game against Portugal on Monday, on up to 850 couches.

The an der Alten Foersterei stadium provides all the usual refreshments, including hot dogs and beer, but has thrown in a few home comforts such a couch table and a lamp for each sofa.

Completing the cozy feel is a huge wall around the screen covered in retro 1970s East German-style wallpaper.

Gerald Ponesky, organizer of the 'living room', said he was inspired when he heard fans at a game singing about the stadium as their 'living room, their home'.

"The idea clicked," said Ponesky.

Some have gone to great lengths to bring their sofas to the venue. Sascha Alexander, 32, said after reserving a spot on the stadium turf he bought two couches on eBay, rented a van, drove across the city and dragged them in.   Continued...

 
People react as Brazil scores against Croatia during a public viewing of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at the Alte Foersterei stadium in Berlin, June 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter