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What's In a Name?

Memories and local pride bubble over in Bern, Switzerland, after CSL Behring turns soccer stadium naming rights into a nostalgic neighborhood tribute.

Crowd excitement at Wankdorf Stadium
Courtesy of BSC Young Boys and Swiss Television

Everyone roots for the underdog.

This begins to explain why the response was so quick and joyous when CSL Behring in Bern, Switzerland announced it had entered a partnership with the BSC Young Boys football club that will return Stade de Suisse to its former name: Stadium Wankdorf.

Yes, Wankdorf. To quote a story about the name change from the international Swiss Broadcasting Corporation: “Stop tittering in the back.” A 2014 petition in favor of the name change amassed more than 10,000 signatures. Five years later, it happened.

The beloved stadium is located next to CSL Behring’s Bern manufacturing site in the Wankdorf district of Switzerland, and – like CSL Behring – is integral to the livelihood and vibrancy of the community. The naming switch was recently celebrated over the weekend during a BSC Young Boys game.

"Giving back the name Stadium Wankdorf has a high emotional value for us,” said Pierre Caloz, Head of Manufacturing Europe and Asia Pacific. “CSL Behring has been rooted in the Wankdorf district for 70 years.”

And all the history that occurred at the stadium location has high emotional value, too. In 1954, a World Cup final there was dubbed “The Miracle of Bern” after the West German team beat heavily favored Hungary in a 3-2 stunner. The rain-soaked game inspired a popular 2003 German film called The Miracle of Bern.

Like many inspiring sports films, the movie tells both a soccer story and an emotional one - in this case, the tale of father and son amid the backdrop of post-war Europe. Watch the trailer from the film directed by Sönke Wortmann, a German director and producer.

CSL Behring’s five-year partnership with Swiss soccer champs, BSC Young Boys, begins in summer 2020, with an option for an additional five years. A CSL Behring event recently gave children from the Wankdorf neighborhood a chance to play soccer in the stadium. In addition to being a treasured community asset, the stadium is known for being among the greenest in the world

“Above all, our engagement in the Wankdorf district shall be sustainable – for the good of the Bern football, the entire population and our employees,” Caloz said.

To feel the excitement, watch this video, provided courtesy of BSC Young Boys and Swiss Television. It features footage of the original stadium structure, audio of the famous 1954 game and a look at the present-day BSC Young Boys and their loyal fans. If you're wondering what “Zrügg ids Glück” means, it's a phrase in Bern dialect (a variation of Swiss German) and means "back to good fortune.”