Hungary: Opening of the arena for this year's World Athletics Championships

source:; author: Kuba Kowalski

Hungary: Opening of the arena for this year's World Athletics Championships Nemzeti Atlétikai Központ, Budapest's new sports and leisure park, which will also host the World Athletics Championships in August, will open on June 17. What did the construction of the facility involve and what will accompany the opening of the arena?


An opening full of attractions

A grand opening of the arena with entertainment programmes and sports activities for the whole family - this is what will be happening in Budapest. Visitors can tour the entire facility, including the areas that will later be closed to the public, and take a walk. It will also be possible to challenge each other on the brand-new, specially indoor treadmill, where the world's best athletes will compete for medals in August.

There will be the opportunity to contest a variety of events, from the 100-metre run to the 4.5-kilometre run, all on the newly built track of the National Athletics Centre. The warm-up will be led by Balázs Baji, World Championships bronze medallist and European Championships silver medallist in hurdle running, and a beautiful medal, a free commemorative photo and a 50% discount voucher for tickets to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest await those who complete the distances.

Stadium in Budapest© Napur Architects

How did the construction of an athletics arena in Budapest come about?

Budapest intended to bid for the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics, and in 2016 a preliminary concept for a new Olympic Stadium in the Hungarian capital was developed. Due to growing public resistance, Budapest withdrew from the fight to host the Games in February 2017 and the concept remained unrealised. However, plans to build a new athletics stadium were not completely abandoned.

It was decided to use the plot of land previously earmarked for the would-be Olympic Stadium to build the arena. In the course of work on the final shape of the venue, the concept evolved and the initial maximum capacity of 55,000 spectators was reduced first to 40,000 and finally to 37,326 (with 14,531 seats after the removal of the upper tier). As early as February 2020, the tender process to select the main contractor for the stadium was launched. The contract was signed on November 2, 2020, and the stadium contract was worth 150 billion forints. The state intended to spend almost 203 billion forints on the entire project.

In the second half of 2022, it was reported that the cost of the entire project was rising, first from 204 to 211 billion forints, then to 238 billion, and by the end of the year to 246 billion. This makes the project the most expensive investment in sports infrastructure in Hungarian history, as the construction of Puskás Arena cost 190 billion forints. The World Athletics Championships will take place from 19 to 27 August.

Stadium in Budapest© Napur Architects