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Raise the roof | Atlético Madrid’s new stadium nears completion

  • Club has sold record number of season tickets for new stadium after reducing prices
  • Bigger capacity dropped in favour of more space and comfort for fans
  • Number of hospitality seats doubled

Atlético Madrid is currently putting the finishing touches to Europe’s latest and largest state-of-the-art stadium to open this year, with the objective of being ready to host Spanish LaLiga football matches from the middle of September.

With building work on the structure scheduled to be finished by the end of June, the Wanda Metropolitano will cater for 68,000 fans next season. The club has proudly announced that it has already surpassed the number of season passes sold for the new stadium than for the current season.

The club has offered passes for next season at reduced prices, the lowest being €250 ($273) – a significant reduction on the cheapest €325 pass for this term at the Vicente Calderón. As a consequence, 48,500 season tickets have already been snapped up four months in advance, setting a new club record.

VIDEO: The Wanda Metropolitano (Atletico de Madrid)

Renaissance

The club can expect the on-pitch renaissance of recent years to continue and will be helped by larger crowds in a new modern stadium. However, what can those fans expect from Atlético’s new home?

The new location, in the north east of the Spanish capital, has been constructed on the original site of an athletics stadium that was the proposed site for the Olympic stadium during Madrid’s three unsuccessful bids to host the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Games.

Spanish architects Cruz y Ortiz have taken overall charge of the project and the stadium will boast 7,000 VIP seats and an iconic roof designed by Schlaich Bergermann Partners, the engineering consultancy responsible for similar projects at the Maracanã Stadium, Johannesburg’s Soccer City and the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

PICTURE: The Wanda Metropolitano (Atletico de Madrid)

The emphasis is on comfort and functionality, so much so that the original idea to cater for a bigger capacity was dropped in preference for more space and comfort between seats and rows.

The offering will allow fans to enjoy a wide variety of leisure options from the moment they leave the specially-constructed metro station under the stadium. These will include retail outlets, restaurants, bars and two fan areas – one targeting youngsters and another for families – in the huge open esplanade immediately in front of the stadium. 

Different elements of the roof structure have been constructed in China, Germany and Spain and will provide cover for almost all fans. An estimated 96 per cent of the fans will be covered by the roof in the new stadium with just some of the front rows closest the pitch in danger from the elements.

This will be a huge improvement on the 33 per cent of Atlético’s fans who can boast a roof above their head in their current home.

The assembly of the cable net roof, consisting of double tension rings and radial cables, took place on ground level before the huge structure was raised to its final resting place using hydraulic jacks. The cantilever structure and membrane panels are currently being added to allow the roof to combine a spectacular light design with a red underlay.

PICTURE: The Wanda Metropolitano (Atletico de Madrid)

Perspectives

The Wanda Metropolitano promises to give fans a closer view of the action than the club’s current home. The distances from seats to the pitch will in the main vary from 5.89 and 9.95 metres, while they currently reach up to 16.15 metres in the old stadium. The company chosen to provide those seats is German supplier Eheim, which recently kitted out both the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart and Athletic Bilbao’s new San Mamés stadium, which opened in 2013.

Hospitality seats will more than double the 2,500 presently available in the 55,000-capacity Vicente Calderón and a wide range of hospitality options will be offered along with parking inside the stadium and lifts up to hospitality suites.

The plan to use the stadium’s proximity to the airport to develop a business centre throughout the week is part of a strategy designed by Centerplate ISG, a joint venture between the US catering group and International Stadia Group.

PICTURE: The under-construction Wanda Metropolitano (Atletico de Madrid)

An agreement with Philips Lighting will enable the venue to become the first fully LED-equipped stadium, giving the fans a unique experience during and after matches. The roof will benefit from Philips’ dynamic Vaya Flood system, which will display more than 16 million different colours to light up the Madrid skyline.

The Spanish construction company FCC has been in charge of the bulk of the work. When it hands the stadium over at the end of its contract, the focus will be on laying a new playing surface in time for the new season.

Uefa, football’s European governing body, has already shortlisted the stadium as one of two potential venues to host the 2018-2019 Champions League final. Meanwhile LaLiga has given Atlético permission to play one of its first two games away from home next season, meaning fans can look forward to taking their places at the Wanda Metropolitan by the third or fourth round of games after the International break.

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