We know, the stadium's official name is different. But it's Timsah Arena for most fans and thus for us as well. The stadium in Bursa is getting into its final shape, which is a case of “better late than never” as we're 2.5 years since inauguration.
Bursaspor is one of Turkey's most popular clubs not located in Istanbul. Known from their rather recent championship (2010) and colourful crocodile identity, expressed most blatantly in stadium design, which has a massive crocodile head attached to its north end.
However, construction of the head is still hardly finished. While structurally finally complete, after excessive 7 years in the making, the head still isn't fit to meet its primary use, which is non-sporting events, including banquetting.
Interestingly, works aren't limited to the giant head. This summer a lot more is going on. First, Bursaspor is moving most of its offices to the stadium, which hasn't yet happened since 2015. The municipality in turn is investing in repairs and finishing works, due to the stadium initially being delivered in compromised quality.
The away fans' allocation is being changed. As rightly suggested by one member of the wowTurkey.com forum, it will finally take the shape it should have had from the start. Instead of parts of three sections (forcing large buffer areas), the away enclosure will take all of two sections in the north-western corner.
Bursaspor are also planning on improving the hospitality offer significantly. The biggest portion of this scheme is the creation of 7 large suites within the east stand (each for 38 to 45 people, with individual elevator from underground parking).
Finally, we must mention the supporters, who have been relentless in their efforts to make the stadium more cosy. First they decorated the rough inner concourse with murals. Now, just in the last week, they also created a vast graffiti on top of the south stand, covering an impressive surface of 600 m2.
Financial burden, nevertheless
While the Bursa Municipal Stadium (we really prefer Timsah Arena) is changing for the better, it's also the source of quite some issues for the “Yeşil Timsahlar” (Green Crocodiles) community.
First, the football club had to abandon its 10-year lease of the stadium back in May, transferring the building to the Turkish sports ministry. In a move similar to other Turkish clubs at the time of financial crisis in domestic football, Bursaspor was thus relieved of its rather high annual fees of TRY 10-12 million. It's an interim solution rather than long-term one, hopefully.
Second, the stadium brought further expenses to the municipality this year as a long-standing legal dispute was ended. The city is to pay TRY 41 million to a land owner, on whose land the stadium was built. While the municipality had agreements reached with majority of the private owners, this one hadn't agreed for the stadium to be built and was awarded compensation by the court.