New Stadium: CityPark finally opened!
source: StadiumDB.com; author: Mateusz Osmola
The new football facility in St. Louis was originally scheduled to be inaugurated as early as September this year. Unfortunately, the opening was delayed due to power problems. On November 16, a participant in this year's UEFA CL, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, came to the city in the state of Missouri, to face St. Louis City S.C. reserves.
CityPark was built as a home for the new MLS club, which was licensed in 2019 to participate in this competition from the 2023 season onwards. The team was named St. Louis City S.C, and the construction of the soccer-specific stadium where it would play began in 2020. It was decided to carry out the project on grounds located in the city centre on representative Market Street. HOK Architects and Snow Kreilich Architects were responsible for the design of the stadium.
The construction of the facility proceeded smoothly and unproblematically. Club officials even managed to secure a naming rights owner for the arena before the work was even completed. In February 2022, it was announced that a 15-year partnership agreement had been signed with a healthcare company, Centene Corporation. Under the terms of it, the facility being constructed was named Centene Stadium. However, the company decided to reduce its involvement in the St Louis football project and dropped the naming rights to the stadium in October.
The arena, now rebranded as CityPark, was due to open in September 2022 this year. It was scheduled to host two matches featuring St. Louis City S.C. 2, a reserve team of future participants in the top tier of North American football, playing in MLS Next Pro. However, a power supply failure caused by an unrelated construction project forced the matches to be moved elsewhere and delayed the stadium's opening.
Another attempt to inaugurate the facility was scheduled for November 16 and this time everything went according to plan. CityPark welcomed visitors from Germany, and not just any visitors, as the 3rd team of the previous Bundesliga season and Champions League participant, Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The visitors left no doubt for St. Louis City S.C. reserves about their superiority, winning 3:0. A full house of 22,500 fans sat in the stands, despite the freezing weather along the Missouri River.
The new stadium cost $457.8 million. It has a typical football rectangular layout, with two-tier stands surrounding the pitch on all sides. The pitch is 12 m (40 ft) below the street level. The stands are equipped with seats in the club's colours - red and dark blue. A number of white seating in the lower tier of the east stand forms the inscription 'City'. When designing the arena, the architects were keen to get fans as close to the events on the pitch as possible, so that the furthest seats are only 37 m (121 ft) from the playing field.
Most of the auditorium is located under the roof, which rests on vertically positioned circular steel beams. There are distinctive cuts above the northern corners and above the pavilion on the south side. Three training pitches have been built near the stadium, as well as additional retail and service areas.
© STL Aerials - Brad Henderson