Friends Arena

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Friends Arena
Friends Arena Logo2.png
Friendsarena.jpg
Former names Swedbank Arena (2009–2012)
Location Solna, Stockholm
Coordinates 59°22′21″N 18°00′00″E / 59.37250°N 18.00000°E / 59.37250; 18.00000Coordinates: 59°22′21″N 18°00′00″E / 59.37250°N 18.00000°E / 59.37250; 18.00000
Broke ground 7 December 2009[1]
Built 2009–2012
Opened 27 October 2012[2]
Owner Swedish Football Association, Folksam, Solna Municipality, Jernhusen, PEAB, Fabege[3]
Construction cost 2.8 billion SEK
( 300 million)
Architect Berg Arkitektkontor, Arkitekterna Krook & Tjäder, Populous[4]
Capacity 50,000[5] (football)
65,000 (concerts)[2]
34,000 (speedway)[6]
Executive suites 92
Record attendance

56,840 (Bruce Springsteen, 11 May 2013)[7]

49,967 (SwedenEngland, 14 November 2012)[8]
Tenants
Sweden national football team (2012–)
AIK Fotboll (2013–)
Speedway Grand Prix (2013–)

Friends Arena, the football national arena of Sweden, is a retractable roof multi-purpose stadium located next to the lake Råstasjön in Solna, just north of Stockholm City Centre. The main tenants of the stadium are Sweden's national football team and Allsvenskan football club AIK. Both relocated from their previous home at the Råsunda Stadium. The venue has a total capacity of 65,000 at concerts and 50,000 seated at football matches, but the stadium can be scaled down to accomplish a more intimate setting to host smaller events with a capacity of approximately 20,000 guests. Friends Arena is the biggest football stadium, and indoor venue, in the Nordic countries.

History[edit]

Initially there were plans to build a new national stadium close to the indoor venue Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, but at 1 April 2006 the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) took the decision to build the new stadium in Solna. It was calculated to cost around 1.9 billion kronor (170 million euro) to complete. The estimated cost before construction had begun was 2.3 billion kronor. It replaced Råsunda Stadium, Sweden's former national arena for football. Råsunda will be torn down and will be the first stadium that hosted a FIFA World Cup in history to be removed. Blocks of 700 flats and office buildings will be erected on the site.

Swedbank acquired the naming rights to the new stadium in a 153 million kronor (about 20.5 million euro) deal that will last until 2023. While the arena was originally to be known as Swedbank Arena under the deal, Swedbank announced on 28 March 2012 that it would donate its naming rights to Friends, a nonprofit organization against school bullying of which Swedbank is a supporter. As such, the stadium was renamed Friends Arena.

Opening ceremony[edit]

On 22 August 2012, Friends Arena unveiled the plans for the opening ceremony which took place on 27 October 2012. The theme for the show was Swedish Moments and it was directed by Colin Nutley.[9]

Structure and facilities[edit]

The stadium has a retractable roof, enabling events to take place during the winter season and to host indoor entertainment shows. The facade of the arena can be lit up in 17 million different color schemes. For example, the stadium is lit up in blue and yellow when Sweden's national team is playing matches. Friends Arena is a UEFA Category 4 stadium, and the natural turf pitch measures 105 x 68 metres. In the middle of the stadium roof, a 240 square metres big media cube is placed where the attendance can follow what is happening. In addition, 647 LED-screens are installed throughout the facility to enhance the guest experience.[2]

Events[edit]

The exterior of Friends Arena

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden declared Friends Arena inaugurated at the opening ceremony which took place in the venue at 27 October 2012. The show, directed by famous Swedish director Colin Nutley, was entitled "Svenska Ögonblick" (Swedish Moments). Artists like Agnes Carlsson, The Hives, Icona Pop, Loreen, First Aid Kit and Roxette performed in front of a crowd of 46,000 people. Furthermore, 1,700,000 TV viewers watched the inauguration show live at SVT1.[10]

Swedish House Mafia made three acclaimed concerts during their One Last Tour in the arena. A total of approximately 115,000 people visited Friends Arena during the three sold-out concerts in November 2012.

At 14 November 2012, the stadium hosted its first football game. Zlatan Ibrahimović scored the first goal at Sweden's new national stadium in the 4–2 victory against England. The game was seen by 49,967 people, which is the current attendance record for a sport event.[11]

Sweden v Republic of Ireland. March 22nd 2013.

A spectacular new record for Swedish bandy was set at the 2013 Swedish Bandy Championship Final, when Hammarby IF defeated Sandvikens AIK ahead of an audience of 38,474 persons under the closed roof.

AIK played their first competitive football match at April 7, 2013. Visiting team Syrianska FC succeeded to get one point after a goalless game, but the better for AIK, they set a new club record attendance for a home game in Allsvenskan of 43,463.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played three sold out concerts at Friends Arena between May 3–11, 2013 on their Wrecking Ball Tour, breaking the venue's attendance records with over 55,000 attendees at each show. In thanking Swedish fans for their long time support and loyalty, Springsteen played full albums during the concerts: Born To Run on May 3, Darkness on the Edge of Town on May 4th, and Born In The U.S.A. on May 11.

The final of the UEFA Women's Euro were played at 28 July 2013. 41,301 people watched Germany overcome Norway with a score of 1–0. The game set a new attendance record for a Women's Euro fixture. Solna became also the first city in Europe which has hosted all four big football championships (FIFA World Cup, FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA European Championship and UEFA Women's Championship).

Points of interest[edit]

Friends Arena interior.

The stadium is located a 1.2 kilometer (about 0.75 miles) walk from the Solna commuter train station (about six km (3,7 miles) from Stockholm Central Station) and has parking for 300 buses and 4,000 cars. Along with the stadium, there will also be built a number of hotels with a total of approximately 400 rooms, restaurants for 8,000 guests, office areas for 10,000 employees, conference/exhibition centres and 2,000 flats. Moreover, a new shopping mall with 240 shops is planned to be built near the stadium. The mall will be called Mall of Scandinavia and will be the biggest shopping centre constructed in Sweden. The total project is calculated to cost more than 4 billion SEK.[12]

Travel by public transport to the arena is available by commuter rail to Solna station, or the Tvärbanan tramway (under construction until 2014) also to the Solna station, or by local bus routes; although all details have not yet been fully determined.

Football average attendances[edit]

Season Sweden national team AIK
Games Season Average Highest Gate Lowest Gate Games Season Average Highest Gate Lowest Gate
2013 7 41,973 49,766
vs Portugal
13,438
vs Norway
15 18,900 43,466
vs Syrianska FC
9,388
vs Östers IF
2014 1 24,732 24,732
vs Belgium
24,732
vs Belgium
7 16,481 30,650
vs IFK Göteborg
11,778
vs Mjällby AIF

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inledande spadtag för nationalarenan" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  2. ^ a b c "This is Friends Arena". friendsarena.se. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Säljer del av Friends Arena" (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. 
  4. ^ "Frågor och svar" (in Swedish). friendsarena.se. 
  5. ^ http://friendsarena.se/gastservice/Fragor-och-svar/#f14
  6. ^ "2013 Svandinavian SPG". speedwaygp.com. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tack! Aldrig har det låtit så här bra" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. 
  8. ^ Zlatan invigde med fyra mål
  9. ^ "Svenska Ögonblick - Invigning Friends Arena" (in Swedish). friendsarena.se. 
  10. ^ "Svenska ögonblick - Invigning Friends Arena" (in Swedish). friendsarena.se. 
  11. ^ "Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I liked the first goal more because it was history". Guardian UK. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Arenastaden.se

External links[edit]