The town has enjoyed decent football in the past, make no mistake. But for the first time they have a proper, football-specific stadium to meet the demand.
Long queues and high season ticket sales (some 2,000 as of last week) is what Karvina experienced in recent days, following the promotion of MFK Karvina to the Synot Liga and opening of a brand new stadium.
Well, not brand new. The skeleton of old western main grandstand was left along with its partial roof. Upper rows were replaced by commentator cabins and private boxes, new lower rows were created and on top of that a large 2-floor pavilion was added behind the stand. It provides further skyboxes and a restaurant overlooking the field.
These facilities were part of the plan since 2009, but what never got implemented of the original design is three remaining stands. These were initially planned as twice their eventual size (some 7,000 or more instead of 4,800) and, also notable, nearly twice the budget (CZK 500 million instead of 270-300 million).
Once the more cost-efficient version was approved, construction followed in September 2014, ending literally last week. Of the CZK 300 million spent (some $12.4 million), the European Union donated 80 million, the federal budget added further 110 million and the city covered the remainder.
The result seems to be worth it as MFK Karvina sold out their new home, to some raising the question “why so small”. A few years back it was debated if a larger stadium wouldn’t be more sensible in the long run, even beyond the 10,000 level.
But, to quote deputy mayor Jan Wolf, “It’s better to have a smaller stadium where the stands are crowded and will create an impression of a cauldron”. Which is very much how it could be described last Saturday, when a sell-out crowd enjoyed Karvina tying 1:1 against renowned Zbrojovka Brno.