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adidas celebrates its 70th anniversary and the opening of the Arena building

Employee festival featuring sport, music and celebrity guests

adidas celebrated the 70th anniversary of the company and the opening of the new Arena building at the “World of Sports” complex in Herzogenaurach with some high-profile guests. The guests of honor on stage in Herzogenaurach included creative partner Pharrell Williams, tennis icon Stan Smith, football world champion Philipp Lahm as well as Olympic champions Laura Dahlmeier and Magdalena Neuner, together with CEO Kasper Rorsted and the entire adidas Executive Board. Run DMC, who had a worldwide hit in 1986 with “My adidas”, played exclusively for the adidas employees. The highlight of the event was the ceremonial opening of the Arena building. Around 2,000 employees work in the building, which is visible from a considerable distance. It appears to hover on its 67 filigree columns and is visually reminiscent of a football stadium.

We are proud of our history and our roots in Herzogenaurach. Today we have two reasons to celebrate: The first is that adidas can look back on 70 years of success. And secondly, following the occupation of Arena, all our Herzogenaurach-based employees now work together on the same campus, ‘World of Sports’. Our work environment is unrivaled anywhere in the world: We offer modern buildings, an attractive working environment designed specifically for our unique adidas culture and, of course, a variety of sports facilities on our campus. This puts us in a perfect position for the future, continuing on our international growth track and making our product range even more sustainable.

Kasper Rorsted, adidas ceo

The company, which was founded in Herzogenaurach by Adi Dassler, was officially entered in the commercial register on August 18, 1949. From a Franconian crafts business with 47 employees at that time, adidas rapidly developed into a globally recognized brand and international company that now has 57,000 employees and a presence on all continents. Numerous sporting highlights, such as the first world title for the German national football team in 1954, will remain forever connected with the 3-Stripes brand. Timeless products such as the classic Stan Smith shoe have a place in fashion history.

One of Adi’s daughters, Sigrid Dassler, and other family members came to offer their congratulations at the “World of Sports”, as did many prominent sporting stars of the past decades who have an association with the brand, such as Stan Smith, who gave his name to the iconic adidas shoe, and long-standing partners Philipp Lahm, Laura Dahlmeier and Magdalena Neuner. Representatives from the world of politics, including the Bavarian Minister of the Interior and Sports, Joachim Herrmann, the District Administrator, Alexander Tritthart, and the Mayor of Herzogenaurach, German Hacker, were also present.

The campus festival was, of course, all about sports: Employees played for the adidas football championship in front of Olympic track cycling champion Kristina Vogel and shot hoops with a basketball player from Brose Bamberg. An artificial wave turned Herzogenaurach into a surfing mecca. Stand-up paddling, a waterslide, zip-lining and a brand-new skatepark were other highlights. And those who wanted to take things a bit easier could get a good overview from a Ferris wheel.

The trend toward more sustainability was abundantly evident: An exhibition showed how adidas Parley products are made from plastic bottles thrown away on beaches and in coastal areas. The careful use of energy and water and the reduction of waste are also major goals for adidas. This was highlighted in the exhibition created by the Green Company Team using recycled plastic. For example, the company has reduced the CO2 emissions from its corporate sites by around 24 percent since 2015. By 2030, suppliers’ emissions are also targeted to have fallen by 30 percent.

The “World of Sports” is the headquarters of adidas and covers an area of 59 hectares in northeastern Herzogenaurach. It provides the 5,600 Herzogenaurach-based adidas employees with a modern working environment that has been developed over recent years to cater for the unique corporate culture of the sporting goods manufacturer. The concept dispenses with rigid seating arrangements and instead focuses on flexibility and communication. Each employee can work in an open environment suitable for team and project work or utilize retreat options for focused activities and meetings. In addition, the buildings offer numerous spaces for interaction and communication. The best example of this is the impressive staircase of the Arena building, with its 136 steps, which is heavily frequented throughout the day. The architects Stefan Behnisch and Stefan Rappold, from the renowned Stuttgart Behnisch Architekten architectural agency, did not miss the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony in person. Cees van der Veeken from LOLA Landscape Architects was also a guest; the Rotterdam architectural agency designed the outdoor area. 

Just using the stairs to reach the upper floor of the Arena building each day for a year consumes as much energy as a marathon, and numerous other sports facilities are also available on the campus. In addition to a football pitch surrounded by a running track, there is a beach volleyball court and a tennis court, a bouldering facility and a climbing tower, trampolines and, last but not least, a fully equipped gym with a wide range of courses.