City of Manchester Stadium
UEFA Category 4 Stadium
|Broke ground||12 December 1999|
|Opened||25 July 2002 (as an athletics stadium)
10 August 2003 (as a football stadium)
|Owner||Manchester City Council|
|Operator||Manchester City F.C.|
|Construction cost||£112 million (initial athletics stadium)
£22 million (conversion for football)
£20 million (fitting out football stadium)
|Architect||ArupSport (stadium design)
KSS Design Group (interior fitout)
Populous (stadium expansion)
|Structural engineer||Arup Associates|
|Main contractors||Laing Construction Ltd. (initial construction)
Laing O'Rourke(stadium conversion)
Watson Steel Ltd. (steelwork construction)
|Capacity||41,000 – 2002 Commonwealth Games
47,805 – Domestic football
45,500 – UEFA-governed football
60,000 – Music concerts
|Record attendance||47,435 (Manchester City – QPR, 13 May 2012)|
|Field size||105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd)|
|Manchester City F.C. (250-year lease)
Major sporting events hosted
2002 Commonwealth Games
2005 UEFA Women's Championship
2008 UEFA Cup Final
Ricky Hatton vs. Juan Lazcano (2008 IBO world title fight)
Also see: Major concert events hosted
The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, also known as Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the home ground of Manchester City Football Club, the fifth-largest stadium in the Premier League and the twelfth-largest in the United Kingdom, with a seating capacity of 47,805.
The SportCity location, but with a larger stadium, had been proposed for the main athletics arena in Manchester's failed bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics. In the 2002 Commonwealth Games bid, the capacity for the Games was to be 38,000, and after the games it would be converted to be 48,000. The stadium was built by Laing Construction at a cost of £112 million from a design by architectural consultants Arup Associates.
To ensure the long-term future of the stadium after the Commonwealth Games, it was agreed in 1998 that Manchester City F.C. would lease the stadium from Manchester City Council as a replacement for Maine Road. The conversion from a track and field arena to a football stadium cost the city council £22 million and Manchester City £20 million The club moved into its new home during the summer of 2003.
In addition to athletics, the stadium has hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, England football internationals, rugby league matches, boxing world title fights and music concerts, and will host one 2015 Rugby World Cup match.
The stadium will undergo an 20-month expansion programme from January 2014 to expand the seating capacity to circa 55,000. The expansion will coincide with development immediately adjacent to the stadium and the completion of the Etihad Campus training facility, Connell Sixth Form College and community hub which is partly funded by Manchester City.
Plans to build a new stadium in Manchester were formulated before 1989 as part of the city's bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympics. Manchester City Council submitted a bid that included a design for an 80,000-capacity stadium on a greenfield site in west Manchester. The bid failed and Atlanta hosted the Games. Four years later the city council bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, but this time focusing on a brownfield site 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) east of the city centre on derelict land that was the site of Bradford Colliery, known colloquially as Eastlands. The council's shift in focus was driven by emerging government legislation on urban renewal, promising vital support funding for such projects; the government became involved in funding the purchase and clearance of the Eastlands site in 1992.
For the February 1993 bid the city council submitted another 80,000-capacity stadium design produced by design consultants Arup Associates, the firm that helped select the Eastlands site. In 23 September 1993, the games were awarded to Sydney, but the following year Manchester submitted the same scheme design to the Millennium Commission as a "Millennium Stadium", only to have this proposal rejected. Undeterred, Manchester City Council subsequently bid to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, once again proposing the same site along with stadium plans derived from the 2000 Olympics bid, and this time were successful. In 1996, this same planned stadium competed with Wembley Stadium to gain funding to become the new national stadium, but the money was used to redevelop Wembley.
After successful athletics events at the Commonwealth Games, conversion into a football venue was criticised by athletics figures such as Jonathan Edwards and Sebastian Coe, as the United Kingdom then still lacked plans for a large athletics venue, once the capability for installing an athletics track had been dropped from the designs for a rebuilt Wembley Stadium. Had either of the two larger stadium proposals developed by Arup been agreed for funding, then Manchester would have ended up with a venue capable of being adapted to hosting large scale athletics events through the use of movable seating.
Sport England had wished to avoid creating a white elephant; and so to give the stadium long-term financial viability insisted that the City Council agree to undertake and fund extensive work to convert it from a track and field arena to a football stadium. Sport England hoped either Manchester City Council or Manchester City F.C. would provide the extra £50 million required to convert the stadium to a 65,000 seater athletics and footballing venue with movable seating. However, Manchester City Council did not have the money to facilitate movable seating and Manchester City were lukewarm about the idea of movable seating. Stadium architects Arup Sport believed history demonstrated that maintaining a rarely-used athletics track often does not work with football – and cited examples such as the Stadio delle Alpi and the Munich Olympic Stadium, with both Juventus and Bayern Munich moving to new stadiums less than 40 years after inheriting them.
2002 Commonwealth Games
The stadium's foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Tony Blair in December 1999, and construction began in January 2000. The stadium was designed by Arup Associates and constructed by Laing Construction at a cost of approximately £112 million, £77 million of which was provided by Sport England, with the remainder funded by Manchester City Council. For the Commonwealth Games, the stadium featured a single lower tier of seating running around three sides of the athletics track, and second tiers to the two sides, with an open-air temporary stand at the northern end; initially providing a seating capacity for the Games of 38,000, subsequently extended to 41,000 through installing additional temporary trackside seating along the east and south stands.
The first public event at the stadium was the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games on 25 July 2002. Among the dignitaries present was Queen Elizabeth II who made a speech and 'declared the Commonwealth Games open'. During the ten days of competition, the stadium hosted athletics events and the rugby sevens. Four Commonwealth records were set at the stadium, including the women's triple jump and the women's 5000 m.
Sections of the track were removed and relaid at other athletics venues, and the internal ground level was lowered to make way for an additional tier of seating, on terracing already constructed then buried for the original configuration. The two temporary stands with a total capacity of 16,000 were dismantled, and replaced with a permanent structure of similar design to the existing one at the southern end. This work took nearly a year to complete and added 23,000 new seats. Manchester City F.C. moved to the ground in time for the start of the 2003–04 season. The total cost of this conversion was in excess of £40 million, with the track, pitch and seating conversion being funded by the city council at a cost of £22 million; and the installation of bars, restaurants and corporate entertainment areas throughout the stadium being funded by the football club at a cost of £20 million. The Games had made a small operating surplus, and Sport England agreed that this could be reinvested in converting the athletics warm-up track adjacent to the main stadium into the 6,000 seat Manchester Regional Arena at a cost of £3.5m.
The first public football match at the stadium was a friendly between Manchester City and F.C. Barcelona on 10 August 2003. Manchester City won the game 2–1, with Nicolas Anelka scoring the first ever goal in the stadium.
The first competitive match followed four days later, a UEFA Cup match between Manchester City and Welsh Premier League side The New Saints, which City won 5–0 with Trevor Sinclair scoring the first competitive goal in the stadium. Having started the Premier League season with an away match, Manchester City's first home league fixture in the new stadium was on 23 August, a game drawn 1–1 with Portsmouth, with Pompey's Yakubu scoring the first league goal in the stadium.
To date, the record football attendance at the stadium is 47,435, The stadium has never sold out set at a Premier League match between the home club and QPR on 13 May 2012. This season (2011–2012) also set a number of new club and Premier League footballing records, such as the Manchester club becoming the first ever team to win 11 of its opening 12 games in a Premier League season.
When planning the development, Manchester City Council required a sustainable landmark structure that would be an icon for the regeneration of the once heavily industrialised site surrounding Bradford Colliery, as well as providing spectators with good sightlines in an atmospheric arena. Arup Associates designed the stadium to be "an intimate, even intimidating, gladiatorial arena embodying the atmosphere of a football club" with the pitch six metres below ground level, a feature of Roman gladiatorial arenas and amphitheatres.
The toroidal-shaped stadium roof is held together by a tensioned cable net system unlike the roofs of other stadia, which are held aloft by classic beamed cantilevered or truss supports. The stadium's architectural focal point is the sweeping roof and support masts which are separate from the concrete bowl. A catenary cable is situated around the inner perimeter of the roof structure which is tied to the masts via forestay cables. Backstay cables and corner ties from the masts are connected to the ground to support the structure.
Cables are attached to the twelve masts circling the stadium with rafters and purlins for additional rigid support. The masts double as visual features, with the highest at 75 metres (246 ft). Access to the upper tiers of seats is provided by eight circular ramps with conical roofs resembling turrets above which eight of the twelve masts rise up providing the support structure for the roof.
The roof of the South, East and West Stands built for the athletics stadium configuration was supported by the cable net system. The temporary open stand at the north end was built around the masts and tie down cables that would ultimately support the roof of the current North Stand. After the games the track and field were excavated. The temporary bleachers at the north end were removed and the North Stand and lower tier of seats constructed on the prepared excavation. The North Stand roof was completed by adding rafters, purlins and cladding. The conversion took about a year and increased the seating capacity by around 10,000 seats.
The stadium has facilities for players and match officials in a basement area below the West Stand, which also contains a kitchen providing meals for up to 6,000 people on match days, press rooms, ground staff storage, and a prison cell. Fitting out of the hospitality suites, kitchens, offices, and concourse concessions was accomplished by KSS Architects, and included the installation of the communications cabling and automatic access control system. The stadium also has conference facilities and is licensed for marriage ceremonies.
To create the optimum grass playing surface in the stadium bowl, the roof was designed to maximise sunlight by using a ten-metre band of translucent polycarbonate at its periphery and the corners of the stadium have perforated walls with louvres that can be adjusted to provide airflow across the pitch. Drainage and under-pitch heating were installed to provide optimum growing conditions for the grass.
The stadium was named the City of Manchester Stadium by Manchester City Council before construction began in December 1999, but has a number of commonly used alternatives. City of Manchester Stadium is abbreviated to CoMS when written and spoken. Eastlands refers to the site and the stadium before they were named SportCity and CoMS respectively, and remains in common usage for both the stadium and the whole complex, as does SportCity but with less frequency. The football club, under this new ownership, renegotiated its 250-year lease with the city council in October 2010, gaining the naming rights in return for a substantial increase in rent. The stadium was renamed the Etihad Stadium by the club in July 2011 as part of a ten-year agreement with the team kit sponsors Etihad Airways. The agreement encompasses sponsorship of the stadium's name, extends the team kit sponsorship for ten years, and includes plans to relocate the club's youth academy and training facilities to the Etihad Campus, a new development adjacent to the stadium.
Entry is gained by contactless smart card rather than traditional manned turnstiles. The system can admit up to 1,200 people per minute through all entrances. A service tunnel under the stadium provides access for emergency vehicles and the visiting team's coach to enter the stadium directly. Once inside the stadium patrons have access to six themed restaurants, two of which have views of the pitch, and there are 70 executive boxes above the second tier of seating in the North, West and East Stands.
The stadium's interior is a continuous oval bowl, with three tiers of seating at the sides, and two tiers at each end. While the seating is continuous, each side of the stadium is named in the manner of a traditional football ground. Initially, all sides were named by compass direction (North Stand and South Stand for the ends, East Stand and West Stand for the sides). In February 2004, after a vote by fans, the West Stand was renamed the Colin Bell Stand in honour of the former player. The South Stand was named the Key 103 Stand for sponsorship reasons from 2003 to 2006, though this was largely ignored by supporters. A portion of the North Stand was designated the Family Stand for supporters with children, but from season 2010–11 the entire North Stand was allocated to families. The East Stand is unofficially known by fans as the Kippax after the corresponding stand at Maine Road. Supporters of visiting teams are allocated portions of the South Stand.
The stadium has a UEFA standard dimension pitch of 8932 sq metres 116 x 77 yds covered with natural grass reinforced by artificial fibres made by Desso. The pitch is lit by 218 2000-watt floodlights, consuming a total of 436,000 watts. The areas without seating in each corner of the ground have moveable louvres to allow for ventilation of the pitch. The pitch is recognised as being one of the best in English football, and has been nominated five times in the last nine seasons for best Premier League pitch, an accolade it won in 2010–11 among other awards.
The stadium is the centrepiece of SportCity, which has several other sporting venues. Adjacent to the stadium is the Manchester Regional Arena, which served as a warm-up track during the Commonwealth Games and is now a 6,178-capacity venue that hosts national athletics trials and formerly hosted Manchester City reserve team games. The Manchester Velodrome and the National Squash Centre are a short distance from the stadium. In September 2006, Manchester City was granted planning permission to build an 85-metre (279 ft) wind turbine. Designed by Norman Foster, the turbine was intended to provide power for the stadium and nearby homes, but safety concerns about ice on the blades led to the proposal being abandoned. From 2005 to 2009 a Thomas Heatherwick sculpture, B of the Bang, was situated in front of the stadium. Built to celebrate the 2002 Commonwealth Games, it was the tallest sculpture in the UK. Structural problems led to it being dismantled in 2009. In January 2007 it was announced that the UK's first Super Casino would be built at SportCity but plans were abandoned after it failed to receive authorisation from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
|Season||Stadium capacity||Average attendance||% of capacity||Ranking within PL|
The 2002 Commonwealth Games were deemed a huge success and the stadium gained critical acclaim for its atmosphere and architectural design. It has won a number of design awards, including the 2004 Royal Institute of British Architects Inclusive Design Award for inclusive building design, and the 2003 Institution of Structural Engineers Structural Special Award.
Reception by Manchester City supporters was polarised, with some lukewarm about moving from Maine Road which had a reputation for being one of English football's most atmospheric grounds whilst others were enthusiastic about the bigger stadium and move back to east Manchester where the club was formed. Today, the club boasts more than 33,000 season ticket holders each season, which is more than the maximum capacity of Maine Road just before the club moved homes.
A 2007 Premier League survey found that fans thought sight lines at the stadium were the second best in the Premier League after the Emirates Stadium. Opposition fans have generally given positive feedback, with CoMS coming second to Old Trafford in a 2005 poll to find the United Kingdom's favourite football ground. In 2010, the City of Manchester Stadium was the third most visited stadium after Old Trafford and Anfield by overseas visitors.
In the early years of Manchester City's tenure the stadium suffered from a poor atmosphere, a common problem with modern stadia when compared with traditional football grounds such as Maine Road. In the 2007 Premier League survey Manchester City supporters rated the atmosphere as second worst in the league, but the atmosphere has since improved.
The stadium is owned by Manchester City Council and leased by the football club. The 2008 takeover made the football club one of the wealthiest in the world, prompting suggestions that it could consider buying the stadium outright. Manchester City signed an agreement with Manchester City Council in March 2010 to allow a £1 billion redevelopment led by architect Rafael Viñoly.
During the 2010 closed season the football pitch and hospitality areas were renovated, with a £1 million investment being made in the playing surface so that it is better able to tolerate concerts and other events without damage. In October 2010, Manchester City renegotiated the stadium lease, agreeing to now pay the city council an annual fixed sum of £3 million where previously it had only paid half of the ticket sales revenue from match attendances exceeding 35,000. This new agreement occurred as part of a standard 5-year review of the original lease and it amounts to an approximate £1 million annual increase in council revenues from the stadium.
In July 2011, the stadium was renamed the Etihad Stadium sponsored by Etihad Airways. Development plans for the Etihad Campus adjoining the stadium were revealed in mid-September 2011. In return, the club promised to build a new community hub in east Manchester which included a new school, sixth form college and community centre. The club released images of a cutting-edge youth academy and training facility, including a 7,000-capacity mini stadium on derelict land adjacent to the stadium's SportCity location. It is believed Etihad Airways fought off competition from Ferrostaal and Aabar to gain stadium naming rights.
For the current and previous seasons, the club has sold all 36,000 of its allocated season tickets and further expansion is now underway. Initially, the South Stand is being extended with the addition of a third tier, to achieve a 54,000 total stadium capacity; construction starting in April 2014 with completion scheduled for the summer of 2015. A second phase, adding a matching third tier to the North Stand, and possibly also providing additional pitchside seating rows bringing the stadium to a total capacity of 62,170, received planning approval at the same time and could commence after the Rugby World Cup in September 2015.
The stadium is located 2.5 km to the east of Manchester city centre. Manchester Piccadilly railway station, which serves mainline trains from Manchester Airport, London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, is a 30-minute walk away along a well-lit signposted route that is supervised by stewards close to the ground. Piccadilly station also has a Metrolink tram stop (in the undercroft); from which regular trams along the East Manchester Line to Ashton-under-Lyne serve the stadium and Etihad Campus, with enhanced service frequencies and doubled tram units on matchdays. The Etihad Campus Metrolink station close to Joe Mercer Way opened in February 2013, and handles several thousand travellers each matchday; spectators travelling by tram from Manchester city centre being able to board services at Piccadilly Gardens, the journey taking approximately 10 minutes. 
There are many bus routes from the city centre and all other directions which stop at, or close to, SportCity. On match and event days special bus services from the city centre serve the stadium. The site has 2,000 parking spaces, with another 8,000 spaces in the surrounding area provided by local businesses and schools.
|2004||Red Hot Chili Peppers|
|2006||Take That, Bon Jovi|
|2007||George Michael, Rod Stewart|
|2008||Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi|
|None – due to concerns
over pitch erosion
|2012||Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen|
|2013||Muse, Bon Jovi Robbie Williams|
Under the terms of its lease, the stadium is able to host non-football events such as concerts, boxing and rugby league under Manchester City's prerogative. Manchester City applied for a permanent licence in 2012 in a bid to expand the number of non-footballing events at the stadium.
Outside the football season the stadium hosts occasional concerts, and is one of the UK's largest music venues, having a maximum capacity of 60,000 for performances. It was the largest stadium concert venue in England before the new Wembley Stadium was built.
The first concert was a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers supported by James Brown in 2004. An Oasis concert at the ground was featured on the DVD, Lord Don't Slow Me Down and the band's concert in 2005 set the attendance record of 60,000. Take That released a DVD of their 2006 performance at the stadium, Take That: The Ultimate Tour. Other artists who have played the stadium are U2, Rod Stewart, Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers, Muse, Bastille, Dizzee Rascal, The Futureheads, the Sugababes, Bon Jovi, George Michael, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Coldplay
Concerts and boxing matches take a toll on the pitch. In 2008, end of season renovation and an early start to the football season, meant the pitch was not ready for the first home fixture and the club had to play its UEFA Cup first round qualifying match at Barnsley's Oakwell Stadium.
Other football events
The stadium, rated an elite stadium by UEFA, has hosted several major football matches in addition to Manchester City's home fixtures. It became the 50th stadium to host an England international football match when the English and Japanese national teams played on 1 June 2004. In June 2005 the stadium hosted England's opening game in the UEFA Women's Championship, setting an attendance record of 29,092 for the competition. The stadium also hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, in which Zenit St Petersburg defeated Rangers 2–0.
In May 2011 the stadium hosted the Conference National Play-off final between A.F.C Wimbledon and Luton Town; Wimbledon gained promotion to the Football League beating Luton in a penalty shootout. The stadium was used for the play-offs because the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final was due to take place at Wembley on Saturday 28 May 2011; UEFA regulations stipulate the stadium hosting the Champions League final must not be used for other matches during the previous two weeks.
In October 2004, the stadium played host to a rugby league international match between Great Britain and Australia in the Tri-Nations series in front of nearly 40,000 spectators. The stadium hosted the Magic Weekend on 26 and 27 May 2012. This is a rugby league competition in which all 14 members of the Super League competition play each other over a full weekend. After a record attendance in 2012, Etihad Stadium is scheduled to host the 2013 and 2014 rounds of the Magic Weekend.
On 24 May 2008, Stockport born and twice IBF and IBO light welterweight champion boxer Ricky Hatton defeated Juan Lazcano in a contest billed as "Hatton's Homecoming". The fight was held in front of 56,337 fans, setting a record attendance for a British boxing event post World War II.
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- Further reading
- The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture – Comprehensive Edition. Phaidon Press. ISBN 0-7148-4312-1.
- The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture – Travel Edition. Phaidon Press. 2005. ISBN 0-7148-4450-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to City of Manchester Stadium.|
- City of Manchester Stadium official website
- Manchester City Football Club official website
- Images tagged City of Manchester Stadium at Flickr
- Arup Associates PDF format article about the original design of the stadium
- Arup Associates PDF format article about the transformation of the stadium after the 2002 Games
- YouTube video depicting MCFC's vision for the club's planned Etihad Campus
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