Believe it or not, the ‘RB’ in RB Leipzig doesn’t actually stand for ‘Red Bull’ – at least not officially. Here’s why
RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg may be owned by the same company, but the ‘RB’ in their names means something different to both teams.
So what is the RB short for in RB Leipzig? Goal takes a look.
What does RB stand for in RB Leipzig?
The RB in RB Leipzig stands for RasenBallsport Leipzig, not Red Bull Leipzig.
Though RB Leipzig are owned under Red Bull, who also own the likes of RB Salzburg (Red Bull Salzburg), the New York Red Bulls, RB Brazil and RB Ghana, they are officially known as RasenBallsport Leipzig and not Red Bull Leipzig because German football does not allow clubs to be named after a sponsor.
‘RasenBallsport’ means ‘Lawn Ball Sports’.
By still using the initials RB in front of Leipzig, however, the corporate identity of the club’s owners are still able to be recognised.
Additionally, the club’s nickname is Die Roten Bullen (‘The Red Bulls’), another nod to the energy drink company who own the club.
And though RB Leipzig are not officially known as ‘Red Bull Leipzig’, the name of their home stadium is the Red Bull Arena.
The ownership of RB Leipzig dates back to 2005, when Red Bull GmbH bought SV Austria Salzburg and renamed the side to RB Salzburg.
The owners revamped the side, changing the team’s traditional strip from violet to red and white, which led to some of the team’s supporters founding a new side called SV Austria Salzburg.
Moreover, RB Leipzig is not fully owned by the Red Bull company entirely, even though they are the main shareholder.
Germany have a ’50 plus 1′ rule, where the club’s supporters must own 50 percent of the stake and fans have the ultimate casting vote if disagreements arise – but the owners found a workaround with this by stating that the club only has 17 official members (compared to Borussia Dortmund’s 170,000 by 2009).
They made this possible by charging €1000 for their annual gold-standard membership, which is an unaffordable number for most Germans.
And then, since the club are owned by the company’s associates, corporate partners and employees, they have the power to veto those who are applying for a membership.
Due to their unique membership structure, RB Leipzig have an unpopular reputation across Germany.