Aviva Stadium

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Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium.svg
Aviva Stadium(Dublin Arena).JPG
Location 62 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, Dublin, Ireland
Coordinates 53°20′6.5″N 6°13′42.0″W / 53.335139°N 6.228333°W / 53.335139; -6.228333Coordinates: 53°20′6.5″N 6°13′42.0″W / 53.335139°N 6.228333°W / 53.335139; -6.228333
Public transit Lansdowne Road railway station
Owner Irish Rugby Football Union
Football Association of Ireland
Operator New Stadium Ltd[1]
Capacity 51,700 (Association football, rugby union)[2]
49,000 (American football)[3][4]
65,000 (concerts)
Field size 106 m × 68 m (348 ft × 223 ft)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground March 2007
Built 2007–2010
Opened 14 May 2010
Construction cost €410 million
(inclusive of EUR € 191 million of government funding) (2010)[5]
Architect Populous[6]
Scott Tallon Walker[7]
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Services engineer

ME Engineers

Town Planning Consultants = Tom Phillips + Associates
Tenants
Ireland national rugby union team (IRFU) (2010–present)
Republic of Ireland national football team (FAI) (2010–present)
Leinster Rugby (2010-present)

The Aviva Stadium is a sports stadium located in Dublin, Ireland, with a capacity for 51,700 spectators (all seated).[8][9] It is built on the site of the former Lansdowne Road stadium, which was demolished in 2007, and replacing it as home to its chief tenants: the Irish rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team. The decision to redevelop the stadium came after plans for both Stadium Ireland and Eircom Park fell through. Aviva Group Ireland signed a 10-year deal for the naming rights in 2009.[10]

The stadium, located adjacent to Lansdowne Road railway station, officially opened on 14 May 2010. The stadium is Ireland's first, and only, UEFA Elite Stadium and in 2011, it hosted the Europa League Final. It also hosted the inaugural Nations Cup, as well as the regular home fixtures of the national rugby team, national football team and some home fixtures for Leinster Rugby from August 2010 onwards.

Unlike its predecessor, which was solely owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the current stadium is controlled by the IRFU and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) through a 50:50 joint venture known as the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company (LRSDC). The joint venture has a 60-year lease on the stadium;[11] on expiry the stadium will return to the exclusive ownership of the IRFU.[12]

Facilities[edit]

Inside the stadium

The stadium is a bowl shape with four tiers on three sides of the ground; the lower and upper tiers being for general access, the second and third levels feed the second tier for premium tickets and the fourth tier for corporate boxes. The northern end of the stadium, due to its proximity to local housing, incorporates only the lower tier of the bowl. The North Stand is to be the away stand for football internationals. There is one basement level and seven storeys of floors including ground level. The premium level holds 10,000 spectators, while the box level holds 1,300.[2] The remaining 38,700 seats are shared between the top and bottom tiers. The capacity of the stadium was criticised even before its opening for being too small, particularly in light of the large supporter attendance figures for Irish rugby internationals and soccer internationals at Croke Park since 2007.[13] The stadium's roof is designed to undulate in a wave-like manner so as to avoid blocking light to local residences.[14]

History[edit]

The stadium was officially opened on 14 May 2010 by then Taoiseach Brian Cowen.[15][16][17]

In 2011, the stadium won a British Construction Industry Award.[18]

Events[edit]

Rugby union[edit]

The Aviva prior to a Leinster Rugby match

The Ireland rugby union team is playing its home games at the stadium, as it did previously at Lansdowne Road, taking over from their temporary home, Croke Park, where games were played during Aviva's construction. Ireland's first international game was on 6 November 2010 against South Africa, with the Springboks winning 23–21. The game drew a disappointing crowd of 35,515, mainly due to a backlash by Ireland supporters over the IRFU's controversial ticketing strategy for the November Test series.[37] Initially, the IRFU announced that tickets to the November Tests would only be sold as packages for all four matches. Later, it announced that the tickets would instead be split into two packages, with the South Africa Test bundled with the following week's match with Samoa for a minimum of €150, and the New Zealand and Argentina Tests bundled for a minimum of €190. Single-game tickets were to be available only for the Samoa and Argentina Tests. On 1 November, the IRFU backed away from this plan amid heavy criticism from member clubs that had problems selling the packages in a difficult economy.[38]

Lansdowne Road was replaced by the Aviva Stadium, shown here during construction

The first rugby union game at the Aviva was an exhibition game on 31 July 2010, billed as the O2 Challenge, involving under-18 and under-20 players from all four of Ireland's provincial sides, with a Leinster/Ulster side defeating a Munster/Connacht combination 68–0.[39] As part of the run-up to the event, O2 ran a promotion which gave the winner the opportunity to attempt to score the ceremonial first points at the Aviva via a simulated conversion kick on the day before the match. The winner of the promotion, John Baker of Ennis, was successful.[40] The first official points at the Aviva were scored by Ulster's Craig Gilroy with a try in the O2 Challenge.[39]

The stadium also hosts some home games for Leinster when the RDS Arena's smaller capacity doesn't satisfy demand. Leinster won their opening home game in the Aviva against Munster 13-9, in the Magners League (now PRO12) season, in front of a then record Pro12 attendance of 50,645.[41] This league record was exceeded on 29 March 2014 when Leinster again beat Munster, 22-18, in front of 51,700 people.[31]

Heineken Cup[edit]

Leinster won their first Heineken Cup game in the Aviva 24–8, against Clermont Auvergne in a pool game during the 2010–11 season.[42] During Leinster's successful run to the Heineken Cup title that season, they took their quarter-final and semi-final matches to the Aviva, defeating Leicester Tigers[43] and Toulouse respectively.[44]

Ulster took their 2012 Heineken Cup semi-final to the Aviva as well,[45] defeating Edinburgh.[46]

The 2013 Heineken Cup Final took place in the Aviva Stadium on 18 May 2013[47] where Toulon beat Clermont Auvergne 16-15. The Heineken Cup final was last held in Dublin in 2003 when Toulouse beat Perpignan 22–17 at Lansdowne Road.

Association football[edit]

The stadium also hosts the home games of the Republic of Ireland, as did Lansdowne Road. The team had played most home games at Croke Park during the construction of the Aviva. The first soccer match in the Aviva was Manchester United against a League of Ireland XI side, managed by Damien Richardson, on 4 August 2010.[54] Manchester United won the game 7–1, with Park Ji-Sung scoring the first ever goal in the Aviva Stadium.[55] The first international game for Ireland in the Aviva Stadium was a 1–0 friendly loss against Argentina on 11 August 2010.[56] The first competitive goal was scored by Kevin Kilbane in a Euro 2012 qualifying game on 7 September 2010 against Andorra.[57]

FAI Cup Final[edit]

Ireland vs. Argentina from 2010

The Aviva annually hosts the FAI Cup Final, which was shared between the RDS Arena and the Tallaght Stadium while the Aviva Stadium was being built. The first Cup Final at the new stadium was the 2010 FAI Cup Final, held on Sunday 14 November 2010. Sligo Rovers beat Shamrock Rovers 2–0 on penalties after the game finished 0–0 after extra time. A total of 36,101 attended the game making it the biggest attendance at an FAI Cup Final since 1968.[citation needed] Tickets for the finals are to be included as part of the ten-year international tickets.[citation needed]

2011 Nations Cup[edit]

The 2011 Nations Cup took place in the Aviva Stadium. The tournament featured national football teams from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In the opening round of fixtures the Republic of Ireland beat Wales 3–0 while Scotland beat Northern Ireland 3–0. The remaining four fixtures took place in May, with the Republic of Ireland winning the tournament after beating Scotland 1–0 on 29 May, with Keane scoring the only goal.[58]

2011 Europa League Final[edit]

The 2011 UEFA Europa League Final between Portuguese sides Porto and Braga took place in the Aviva Stadium. Due to UEFA rules against corporate sponsorship outside the federation, the stadium was referred to as the "Dublin Arena" for this final,[59][60] that ended with a 1–0 victory for Porto.[61]

Dublin Super Cup[edit]

The Dublin Super Cup was a pre-season football tournament which was held at the Aviva. Celtic, Manchester City, Inter Milan and a League of Ireland XI competed in the 2011 edition, with Manchester City winning the tournament.[62][63]

The 'Dublin Decider'[edit]

The 'Dublin Decider' was a game which took place on the 10th August 2013. The match was played between Celtic and Liverpool, with both teams having large support in Ireland. Celtic won the match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Amido Balde.[64] There are supposed to be talks ongoing about a return of the 'Dublin Decider' in the summer of 2014 with clubs such as Barcelona, Manchester United and Celtic being mentioned as potential visitors to the Aviva Stadium.

UEFA Euro 2020[edit]

On 19 September 2014, it was announced by UEFA that the stadium will host four Euro 2020 finals fixtures, three group games and a round of 16 match.[65] Should Ireland qualify they will be guaranteed two home group games.[66]

American football[edit]

The stadium in American football configuration for Navy vs. Notre Dame in 2012

On 1 September 2012, the stadium hosted an American college football game billed as the Emerald Isle Classic between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen. Notre Dame won 50-10.[67]

Concerts[edit]

Concerts at the Aviva Stadium
Date Artist Tour Attendance
24–25 September 2010 Michael Bublé Crazy Love Tour 95,895
25 June 2011 Neil Diamond World Tour 2011 50,108
2 July 2011 The Script Science & Faith Tour 47,910
24 July 2012 Madonna The MDNA Tour 33,953
15 September 2012 Lady Gaga The Born This Way Ball 37,005
14 June 2013 Robbie Williams Take the Crown Stadium Tour 36,928
21 June 2013 Rihanna Diamonds World Tour 48,482
18 September 2013 Roger Waters The Wall Live 24,210
1 July 2015 AC/DC Rock or Bust World Tour

Transport connections[edit]

The stadium is served by public transport with Bus and DART. More remotely, it may also be reached, following a journey on foot by the Luas and Busáras. The stadium is inaccessible by car on match days due to a 1 km car-free exclusion zone in operation.

Service Location Route
Dublin Bus Pembroke Road Bus routes 4, 5, 7, 8, 18, 45, 63 – 600 metre walk to stadium entrance
Charlotte Quay Bus routes 2, 3, 50, 56, 77 – 1.2 km walk to stadium entrance
Luas – Green Line Charlemont 2.2 km walk
Iarnród Éireann – DART Lansdowne Road Direct to stadium

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Stadium Info". Aviva Stadium. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
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  5. ^ Stadium Facts Irish Times, 5 May 2010 (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Aviva Stadium - POPULOUS". Populous.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Scott Tallon Walker : Aviva Stadium". Stwararchitects.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
HSH Nordbank Arena
Host of the UEFA Europa League Final
2011
Succeeded by
Stadionul Naţional