New stadium: Wailing walls and porn in Budapest

source:; author: michał

New stadium: Wailing walls and porn in Budapest Yes, this is a click bait, but a well-deserved one. After all, few stadiums are that controversial before they even open. But from now on, the MTK stadium in Budapest should generate positive emotions!


Yesterday was an important night for Budapest’s football, with even Viktor Orban in attendance. Between the reconstructed Groupama Arena and yet-to-be-built new national stadium the third, smallest one was opened.

Named after Nándor Hidegkuti, the new MTK Budapest stadium was inaugurated with a friendly against Lisbon’s Sporting. Why that team? Because it was Sporting who came to Budapest and drew 3:3 in 1964, when both teams fought in the Cup Winners Cup final. Yesterday the result was only a bit less impressive, stopping at 2:2 in front of packed stands. And while the patron’s name remains unchanged, the new stadium is nothing like the previous one.

Nandor Hidegkuti Stadion© MTK Budapest

Works on the new stadium of MTK Budapest were launched in 2015 thanks to the national programme for sports stadia reconstruction. The predecessor was leveled in the first half of 2015, but construction of the new one effectively began in January 2016. Why would that be important? Because it means that the entire structure was delivered within just 9 months!

While a lot of the new stadium was prefabricated and allowed quick assembly, there are also significant monolithic portions built on site. Particularly visible are the large concrete walls behind each goal which then became the most controversial part of the design. While on the one hand the walls allowed for the stadium be an enclosed bowl, they also create a very raw and imposing impression, even if shaped interestingly. They already have a very popular nickname of wailing walls. While clearly pejorative, this may prove to be the new stadium’s iconic feature when accepted by fans…

Nandor Hidegkuti Stadion© MTK Budapest

The walls, just like the whole arena’s layout, are the outcome of concept adopted in 2014. It was then decided that the field should be rotated around 90 degrees compared to the old one to better fit UEFA/FIFA regulations. This adjustment allowed to put all spectators along the sides, but also left only just enough room for the concrete walls on both ends, tightly along nearby streets.

Nandor Hidegkuti Stadion

Rotation of the stadium released a whole lot of space in the east and west and thus enabled the creation of over 40 skyboxes. This was more important than any potential capacity increase because MTK Budapest never needed more than the previous capacity (5,515 compared to the new one's 5,322). The club did however have the desire to create vast corporate zones, which would boost the matchday revenue. Compared to overall capacity, the ratio of business sections is almost unprecedented globally.

Nandor Hidegkuti Stadion© MTK Budapest

Construction was very fast, but also proved significantly more expensive than anticipated. In 2014 it was expected to stay within HUF 6 – 6.5 billion. In the end it increased to 7.26 forints, which at the end of construction represented $26 million.

And by that point you can admit you’re still waiting for the porn scandal mentioned in the title. It made headlines across Hungary just a week ago, because during tests the stadium’s two giant screens were indeed displaying a porn video which, having leaked to the media, proved one more reason for criticism, even if less serious than the concrete walls.

Yet, after official opening, we can anticipate that more positive opinions about the stadium will take over. After all, it’s a modern and well-designed football arena able of creating a loud atmosphere…