|Former names||Swedbank Arena (2009–2012)|
|Location||Solna, Stockholm, Sweden|
|Owner||Swedish Football Association, Folksam, Solna Municipality, Jernhusen, Peab, Fabege|
|Broke ground||7 December 2009|
|Opened||25 October 2012|
|Construction cost||2.8 billion SEK|
(€ 300 million)
|Architect||Arkitekterna Krook & Tjäder, Berg Arkitektkontor, Populous|
|Sweden national football team (2012–present)|
AIK Fotboll (2013–present)
Friends Arena (Swedish pronunciation: [frɛn(d)s a²reːna]), also known as Nationalarenan, is a retractable roof multi-purpose stadium in Stockholm, Sweden. Located next to the lake Råstasjön in Solna, just north of the City Centre, it is the biggest stadium in Scandinavia. Since its opening, the venue has served as Sweden's national stadium for men's football, hence its name. The main tenants of the stadium are Sweden's men'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 provide for smaller events with approximately 20,000 guests. If the city of Stockholm's bid with Åre, Falun and Sigulda, Latvia for the 2026 Winter Olympics is successful, this arena would host the opening and closing ceremonies, being the largest stadium to do this, narrowly beating Beijing National Stadium if 2022 ceremonies aren't fully sold-out events.
Initially there were plans to build a new national stadium close to the indoor venue Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, but on 1 April 2006 the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) made the decision to build the new stadium in Solna. It was calculated to cost around 1.9 billion kronor (202 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 was torn down and replaced by some 700 flats and office buildings, making it the first stadium that hosted a FIFA World Cup to ever have been torn down.
Swedbank acquired the naming rights to the 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, Swedbank announced in 2012 that it would donate its naming rights to Friends, a nonprofit organization against school bullying of which Swedbank is a sponsor. Consequently, the stadium was renamed Friends Arena.
Structure and facilities
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.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden declared the arena inaugurated at the opening ceremony which took place in the venue at 25 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.
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.
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 Nationalarenan between 3–11 May 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 3 May, Darkness on the Edge of Town on 4 May, and Born In The U.S.A. on 11 May.
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). The arena also hosts Motorcycle speedway as part of the Speedway Grand Prix World Championship series and has hosted the Speedway Grand Prix of Scandinavia since 2013. The temporary track at the arena is 275 metres (301 yards) in length.
AC/DC performed at the venue on 19 July 2015 in front of a sold-out crowd of 53,000 people. On 26 July 2016, Beyoncé performed at the stadium to a sold-out crowd of 48,519 for her The Formation World Tour.
Depeche Mode performed at the stadium on 5 May 2017. The show was the opening night of the band's Global Spirit Tour in front of a sold-out crowd of 36,400 people. Ariana Grande performed here on 8 May 2017. The show was the kick off of the European leg of her Dangerous Woman Tour.
The stadium was the venue for the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final on 24 May 2017 between Ajax and Manchester United; United won the match 2–0. Guns N' Roses performed here on 29 June 2017 in a sold-out show to a crowd over 55,000 people, approximately 1,000 people less than Bruce Springsteen who holds the record.
Points of interest
The stadium is located a 700-metre (800 yards) walk from the Solna commuter train station, where the Tvärbanan tramway and local buses are also available (a slightly longer walk away). The 18th meridian east runs through Nationalarenan.
The arena, located about six km (3,7 miles) from Stockholm Central Station, has parking for 300 charter 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 shopping mall, Mall of Scandinavia, with 240 shops and a multi screen cinema, opened near the stadium in 2015. The mall is the biggest shopping centre in Sweden.
Football average attendances
|Season||Sweden national team||AIK|
|Games||Season Average||Highest Gate||Lowest Gate||Games||Season Average||Highest Gate||Lowest Gate|
vs Syrianska FC
vs Östers IF
vs IFK Göteborg
vs Falkenbergs FF
vs IFK Göteborg
vs Falkenbergs FF
vs Czech Republic
vs Hammarby IF
vs BK Häcken
vs Djurgårdens IF
vs Halmstads BK
- "Säljer del av Friends Arena" (in Swedish). Sveriges Television.
- "This is Friends Arena". friendsarena.se. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Eminem slog publikrekord på Friends arena" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter.
- "Ny toppsiffra för AIK - slog publikrekordet på Friends" (in Swedish). fotbollskanalen.se.
- "Inledande spadtag för nationalarenan" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "Frågor och svar" (in Swedish). friendsarena.se. Archived from the original on 2013-04-27.
- "Svenska ögonblick - Invigning Friends Arena" (in Swedish). friendsarena.se. Archived from the original on 2012-11-10.
- "Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I liked the first goal more because it was history". Guardian UK. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Picture from the 2013 bandy final, with the all time high attendance of 38,474
- "Google Maps". Google Maps.
- Arenastaden.se Archived December 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
Media related to Friends Arena at Wikimedia Commons
| UEFA Women's Euro
De Grolsch Veste
St. Jakob Park
| UEFA Europa League
Parc Olympique Lyonnais