2012 was a year full of anticipation and exhilaration in the stadium world.
Both Euro 2012 and London 2012 Olympics flew by in an instant with unprecedented success, sweeping aside the sceptics that raised doubts over venue construction and infrastructure. But the year was not just about two events, as Stadia Directory covered all the latest stadium news from around the globe.
In January, a number of venues submitted plans for ground expansions, signalling intent to increase revenue streams during a difficult financial market. Both Brighton and Hove Albion and Fulham announced stadium redevelopment, while Derby City Council ploughed ahead with plans to build a brand new £20m multi-sports arena in the city.
Then, in February, Tottenham Hotspur pledged to remain in Haringey despite previously weighing up a potential move away from White Hart Lane - their home for 130 years. Saracens Rugby Club was given the green light to renovate their Copthall Stadium which will see the Barnet-based venue increase its capacity to 10,000.
Wembley Stadium celebrated its fifth birthday in March, while UEFA revealed that Lisbon will host the 2014 Champions League Final and the Czech Republic will stage the 2015 Under-21 European Championships. SoccerEx ended the month in great style, as commercial directors and stadium suppliers converged on Manchester to join the debate on the latest happenings in the world of football.
In April, construction work in Brazil restarted for the venues of the 2014 FIFA World Cup following a two-week strike. Elsewhere, Chelsea toyed with the idea of leaving Stamford Bridge in search of a new stadium at the iconic Battersea Power Station but the Blues’ hopes were dashed after failing in the bidding process.
Olympic fever started to take hold in May as a host of celebrities and sports stars toasted the opening of the Olympic Stadium. It went from fever to fury in Istanbul, Turkey, as hordes of angry Fenerbahce fans clashed with police in the stadium following a league match.
In June, the New England Patriots started construction of a solar canopy at Patriot Place that would provide some truly impressive green credentials. Once complete, the installation will generate 1 MW of electricity for the NFL outfit.
July witnessed a surge in stadia gossip as Queens Park Rangers, Liverpool and Chelsea featured in the news over proposed new homes. And, after 24 years of exile, Maidstone United finally had a stadium of their own after two decades of ground-sharing.
In August, Inter Milan moved closer to having their home as well, signalling an end to one of the most famous ground shares in world football. Inter have shared the San Siro with city rivals, AC Milan, since 1947 but could be on their way out with a new venue rumoured to be ready by 2017. Major League Soccer, meanwhile, closed in on a brand new 25,000-seater stadium in New York.
September was one to remember for the Oregon Ducks as they continued an impressive sell-out streak. The Autzen Stadium has been at full capacity for 13 years – 83 games to be precise. And, in Brazil, 2014 World Cup officials boasted that Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo will feature the world’s largest LED stadium panel.
In October, Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn went public on his plans to rename the club if they were successful in taking over the Olympic Stadium. AS Roma stated their intentions of building a new home by 2017 and Bulgarian side Levski Sofia announced plans for a 28,000-seater venue on their existing site.
November was a good month for Arsenal after they agreed a £150m sponsorship extension with Emirates until the end of the 2018/19 season. The airline will also retain naming rights to the Gunners’ stadium until 2021.
In December, Blue Square South side Basingstoke Town received council backing over their £10m plans for a new stadium and Coventry City started looking elsewhere for a venue to host their home matches following a dispute over rent at the Ricoh Arena. Elsewhere, West Ham United were given preferred bidder status for the Olympic Stadium, but no doubt the future of the London 2012 athletic venue will drag on further into the new year and beyond.
Don’t worry though folks, as Stadia Directory will cover all the news on the future of the Olympic Stadium, as well as all the other stadia goings-on around the globe in 2013.
It looks set to be an exciting year, too, as construction for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil heats up and a whole host of spanking new stadiums are due to open over the next 12 months.
It’s easy to see why you should keep an eye out on www.StadiaDirectory.com.
Posted on 02/01/2013