San Mamés Stadium (2013)

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San Mamés
Nuevo San Mamés
San Mames Barria
San Mames, Bilbao, Euskal Herria - Basque Country.jpg
Full name San Mamés
Location Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Coordinates 43°15′51″N 2°57′01″W / 43.264284°N 2.950366°W / 43.264284; -2.950366
Public transit Bilbao metro San Mamés
Owner San Mamés Barria, S.L.[1]
Operator Athletic Bilbao
Capacity 53,289[2]
Record attendance 49,164 (Athletic vs Real Madrid, 18 March 2017)[3]
Field size 105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 26 May 2010
Built 16 September 2013 (1st phase)
25 August 2014 (complete stadium)
Opened 16 September 2013
Construction cost € 211 million
Architect
  • IDOM
  • César Azkarate
Project manager IDOM
Tenants
Athletic Bilbao (2013–present)
Athletic Bilbao B (2015–2016)
Basque Country national football team (2013–present)

San Mamés (also known as Nuevo San Mamés or San Mames Barria) is an all-seater football stadium in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. Inaugurated on 16 September 2013, the stadium replaced the "old" San Mamés as the home of Athletic Bilbao.

History[edit]

Planning and construction[edit]

The first stages of planning occurred as early as 2004, with initial contracts signed late on in 2006, after receiving approval to build in March 2006. The new stadium was to be built next to the existing San Mamés on land that was occupied until 2003 by the Bilbao International Trade Fair.

On 26 May 2010 at 12:00 the ground-breaking ceremony took place at San Mamés.[4] The event was attended by: the Lehendakari of the Basque Country, Patxi López; the Deputy-General of Biscay, José Luis Bilbao; the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna; the Chairman of Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, Mario Fernández; the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Ángel María Villar and the President of Athletic Club, Fernando García Macua.

old stadium demolished with new stadium rising behind, June 2013

In a symbolic display, a piece of turf and a brick from the facade were removed from the old stadium and carried to the adjacent construction site by a human chain including famous players Iribar, Larrazábal, Iturraspe and Muniain as well as members of the youth system, the women's team, the reserve team and its oldest and youngest registered supporters.[5]

Initially, three-quarters of the new stadium were built and then matches took place in it, while the old one was demolished to make room to complete the new arena.

construction in progress, June 2013

Despite the economical woes the country was going through at the time, especially the Basque people, 52.6% of the total €211 million (£178 million) cost of the stadium was paid by public institution - some by the Basque Government (€50m), some by the Bilbao City Council (€11m) and some by the Biscay Provincial Council (€50m including land), as well as Athletic (€50m including land) and BBK/Kutxabank (€50m), on the proviso that the stadium would include facilities for use by the public such as a sports centre.[6] It had been believed that the European Commission were investigating this use of public funds for any possible inpropriety in the deal, but in late 2013 it was confirmed by Joaquín Almunia, the commissioner for competition at the time (and an Athletic supporter from Bilbao), that no such case was being pursued.[7]

Initial opening[edit]

partially completed, December 2013

San Mamés was inaugurated on 16 September 2013, 102 days after the final game at the old stadium. At that time the official capacity of the partially completed arena was 35,686.[8] The first match was a league match played at 22:00 between the hosts Athletic Club and Celta Vigo, which the local team won 3–2. A crowd of 33,000 was in attendance.[9] The distinction of being the first ever goalscorer at the stadium went to Celta's Charles, while the first Athletic scorer was Mikel San José a few minutes later.

Prior to the match, the captains of each of the club's age group teams, club captain Carlos Gurpegui and president Josu Urrutia took part in a short presentation accompanied by a traditional Aurresku dance.[10]

The Celta match was Athletic's second home fixture of that season. As the new stadium was not quite ready, their opening game of the campaign (a 2–0 win over Osasuna) was played at Anoeta in Donostia-San Sebastián, home of rivals Real Sociedad.[11][12][13]

Completion[edit]

Athletic in action, 2015

The first match in the stadium under its full capacity was a Champions League playoff tie against Napoli on 27 August 2014, attended by 49,017. Athletic won 3–1 to progress to the group stage of the competition.[14]

Roof extension[edit]

Since the stadium's opening, supporters had frequently voiced their displeasure at the roof, which did not protect all seats from Bilbao's frequently rainy conditions. Towards the end of the 2015-16 season, throughout the summer break and at the outset of 2016-17, extensions were added to the roof at a cost of €12.6 million, estimated to increase the effectiveness against wet weather by 70%.[15] The lack of sunlight onto the pitch from the roof is offset by internal lighting modules which maintain the condition and growth of the turf, a system used in other Spanish stadiums.[16]

Stadium features[edit]

the stadium facade by daylight

The stadium is equipped with a sophisticated lighting system on its exterior which can be programmed to illuminate the panels on its facade (which by day are white) in solid colours, or to show flashing or moving graphics (such as when a goal is scored, or the UEFA Champions League star-ball motif when Athletic qualified for that competition). It has similarities in this respect with the Allianz Arena in Munich.[16][17][18]

the facade at night, illuminated

It is also situated closer to the Nervión than its predecessor, overlooking the river from a high bank. Its elevated position presents an striking image of the stadium, particularly when illuminated.

Since 2015 the stadium also features a giant external video screen (15.5m X 9.8m), placed in a prominent position at the same point where the original San Mamés featured a large club crest.[19] It looks onto the Pozas, a street running to the stadium from the heart of the city which is a popular walking route for fans on matchdays and is lined with Athletic-themed bars.

External video screen

It is a club tradition for captains of teams visiting the Athletic ground for the first time pay homage to the fallen idol of its early years, Pichichi, by leaving a bouquet of flowers at a bust of the player. In the old stadium, this was situated near the directors' box. Despite concerns that this iconic feature might not be accommodated at the new stadium,[20] a suitable spot was identified at the entrance to the players' tunnel, allowing the tradition to continue at the new location from 2013 onwards.[21]

In August 2017, Athletic opened their new club museum at the stadium.[22][23] The feature had been absent since the closure of the old stadium over four years earlier.[24]

Special events and information[edit]

On 19 September 2014, San Mamés was selected as one of the 13 venues to host matches at UEFA Euro 2020. It will host three group stage matches and one Round of 16 match in the tournament.[25]

A 'beam back' event was held at the stadium in May 2015 for the 2015 Copa del Rey Final for fans who could not attend the game in Barcelona, with giant video screens installed on the pitch that the spectators could view from the stands.

'beam back' of 2015 Copa del Rey Final

On 5 November 2015, San Mamés was awarded as the Sports Building of the Year in the World Architecture Festival held in Singapore.[26]

In 2017 there was a realistic possibility that the stadium could host the Copa del Rey final for the first time after Deportivo Alavés from nearby Vitoria-Gasteiz qualified for the showpiece game to face FC Barcelona. However, the stadium's controlling agency announced that it would not be feasible to accommodate the final on 27 May due to holding a Guns N' Roses concert on 30 May.[27] The Copa final was subsequently assigned to the Vicente Calderón Stadium in Madrid, the 14th time that venue has hosted the final but significant due to it being one of the last matches prior to its replacement by the rebuilt Estadio La Peineta.

In April 2017 the stadium was announced as the host for the 2018 finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup and Champions Cup.[28]

Concerts[edit]

Concerts at San Mamés Stadium
Date Artist Tour Attendance
30 May 2017 Guns N' Roses Not in This Lifetime... Tour

Access[edit]

The stadium is well served by public transport: it is located across the street from the city's Termibus regional bus station, and has a dedicated station - San Mamés (Metro Bilbao) which links the Bilbao tram, metro/underground and commuter rail networks. The major AP-8 road is also nearby. The stadium is also within a reasonable walking distance from most areas of the city centre, e.g. approximately 2km from Casco Viejo (the old town).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Athletic Club, Basque Government, Biscay Provincial Council and BBK Bank.
  2. ^ UEFA EURO 2020 Evaluation Report
  3. ^ "Partido Athletic – Real Madrid en directo, en vivo" (in Spanish). LaLiga. 18 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Sinnott, John (11 May 2011). "Homage to San Mames". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Work begins on the San Mames Barria". Irekia Euskadi. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "¿Cómo se financió San Mames Barria?" [How is San Mamés Barria financed?] (in Spanish). EITB. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "European Commission confusion over Athletic Bilbao's stadium deal under investigation". The Independent. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "San Mamés se abre al mundo" [San Mamés opens to the world] (in Spanish). Marca. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Partido Athletic – Celta en directo, en vivo" (in Spanish). LaLiga. 16 September 2013. 
  10. ^ ""Seremos recordados", dice Mikel San José, autor del primer gol en el nuevo San Mamés" ["We shall be remembered", says Mikel San José, author of first goal in the new San Mamés]. Canal Athletic. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "20.000 rojiblancos apoyarán al Athletic en Anoeta" [20,000 red-and-whites will support Athletic in Anoeta] (in Spanish). EITB. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Una 'mudanza' muy rentable" [A very profitable move'] (in Spanish). Marca. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "El Athletic de Bilbao gana 2-0 a Osasuna en Anoeta" [Athletic Bilbao wins 2-0 against Osasuna at Anoeta] (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "Aduriz relishing Athletic's group stage adventure". UEFA.com. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "El derbi bautiza la cubierta de San Mamés" [The derby will be the baptism for San Mamés roof] (in Spanish). Deia. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Sistema de iluminación arquitectónica de fachada de última generación para San Mamés" [State-of-the-art architectural lighting system for San Mamés] (in Spanish). Smart-lighting.es(with video). 28 February 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "San Mamés se ilumina" [San Mamés lights up] (in Spanish). Marca. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  18. ^ "El nuevo San Mamés ya luce en la noche bilbaína" [The new San Mamés lights up the Bilbao night] (in Spanish). Marca (with video). 21 August 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "La pantalla exterior de San Mamés, a escena" [The exterior screen of San Mamés, on stage] (in Spanish). El Correo. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "El busto de Pichichi no encuentra su sitio en el nuevo San Mamés" [Pichichi's bust can not find its place at the new San Mamés]. ABC (in Spanish). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  21. ^ "El Genk homenajea a Pichichi" [Genk pays homage to Pichichi]. El Correo (in Spanish). 3 November 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  22. ^ "Athletic Club museum inauguration". Athletic Bilbao. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 
  23. ^ "Athletic Club museum inaugurated". Athletic Bilbao. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  24. ^ "Athletic Club Museum [at old San Mames]". Basque Country Tourism. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 
  25. ^ UEFA.com - 2020 hosts decided
  26. ^ "San Mamés scores top architecture prize". Marca. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "San Mamés no albergará la final de la Copa del Rey" [San Mamés will not host the final of the Copa del Rey] (in Spanish). El Periódico. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  28. ^ "Rugby Union: Champions Cup final heading to Bilbao in 2018". Yahoo! News. Omnisport. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Murrayfield
Edinburgh
European Rugby Champions Cup
Final Venue

2017–18
Succeeded by
St. James' Park
Newcastle

Coordinates: 43°15′51″N 2°57′01″W / 43.264284°N 2.950366°W / 43.264284; -2.950366