|Other names||Stadion Pampas|
|Cost||€ 65 M ($72.8 M)|
Opus Arena – stadium description
How did the construction of a new stadium for NK Osijek come about?
The creation of a new venue in Osijek is linked to the acquisition of shares in NK Osijek by Hungarian businessman Lőrinc Mészáros and Croatian Ivan Meštrović in February 2016, who first saved the club from bankruptcy and then decided to take care of its infrastructure.
Initially, there was talk of rebuilding the existing Gradski vrt stadium, which would hold 12,000 spectators after modernisation, although there was even speculation about the possibility of building a Croatian national stadium in Osijek with the appropriate support from the government and football federation.
Meanwhile, in June 2017, the club finalised the purchase of a 15.3 ha site in the western part of the city, in an area known as 'Pampas'. The first plans there envisaged the construction of only a new training centre with only a modest stadium. NK Osijek's main facility should remain the Gradski vrt stadium, which was to be rebuilt.
Over time, however, plans were changed and instead of a small auxiliary facility, a new, typically football stadium for 12,000 spectators was to be built next to the training complex, the future home of NK Osijek footballers. In reference to the name of the area, during the planning and construction phase the facility was most often referred to as the 'Pampas Stadium'.
How did the construction of the new stadium for NK Osijek proceed?
An account of the construction of the new NK Osijek stadium can be seen on a separate subpage
On April 19, 2018, the concept for the new stadium, including the entire training complex, was presented. The design was prepared by local studio Sirrah projekt. Shortly after the presentation, work began to prepare the site for future development. After the plot had been tidied up, the ground level still had to be raised by 1.5 metres, which cost a lot of time and effort.
The architectural concept of the new NK Osijek stadium can be seen on a separate subpage
In April and May 2019, 1,000 piles were driven 12 metres deep into the ground to ensure the stability of the future stadium. At the beginning of August 2019, the main contractor for the facility was selected, which was the local company Eurokamen. The actual construction of the stadium started in September 2019.
However, the local company coped poorly with the difficulties of a major undertaking and progress on the construction site was much slower than expected. On November 30, 2021, the club signed a contract with Austrian company Strabag to support Eurokamen in completing the construction, and on March 1, 2022, the contract with Eurokamen was completely scrapped and only Strabag remained on site, assisted by Hungary's Pharos 95.
Minor changes were also made to the design, abandoning, among other things, the saunas and jacuzzi for VIP guests. On the other hand, the capacity of the arena was increased slightly, to 13,005 spectators.
What were the costs of building the new NK Osijek stadium?
The originally envisaged cost (€35 million), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, an increase in the price of construction materials, problems of the main contractor and other factors, increased to €65 million. The delivery date has also been significantly extended (the stadium was initially expected to be ready in late 2019/early 2020).
The stadium was built mainly with funds from the club's owners, making it the largest private investment in the city's history. Construction was supported by a grant from the Hungarian government (reported to be €6.6 million at the time of the stadium concept presentation). In November 2019, a modest grant of €1 million was also announced by the president of the Croatian Football Association, Davor Šuker, by the way a native of Osijek.
The funding from the Hungarian government was presumably helped by the connections of Mészáros, one of the richest people in Hungary, to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The government aid is part of Hungary's policy of supporting football clubs in neighbouring countries, in regions historically linked to Hungary and with a Hungarian minority.
When was the new stadium in Osijek opened?
On June 29, 2023, it was announced that the Hungarian holding company Opus Global would be the stadium's title sponsor and the venue would be named Opus Arena. On July 1, an open day was organised at the stadium, during which fans had the opportunity to enter the stands of the new arena for the first time. The opening of the stadium took place on July 22,2023 on the occasion of the match of the first round of the new league season between NK Osijek and Slaven Belupo (6:1).
What does Opus Arena look like?
The new stadium has a rectangular, typically football-style grandstand layout. A single-tier auditorium surrounds the pitch on all sides and the main stand, with facilities and VIP seating, is located on the west side. The seats in the stands have the colours of the region (Slavonia), the city and the club (blue and white). The capacity of the arena is 13,005 spectators.
There are 454 VIP seats and nine skyboxes in the main stand. The stadium also has 90 seats for journalists and 244 seats for the disabled. Video screens have been placed in two corners. The pitch has a hybrid turf and is equipped with a heating system. The stands are fully covered by a canopy with floodlights underneath.
The roof extends beyond the outline of the stands, also covering part of the forecourt outside the facility. The outside of the stands is covered by a translucent band, which can be illuminated at night. In front of the façade is a row of metal poles, which support the canopy and evoke associations with the new stadium in Bordeaux.
The facility was built in the western part of Osijek, in an area called 'Pampas', next to the banks of the Drava River and the hippodrome. Surrounding the stadium is an entire complex of seven training pitches serving the club's academy, as well as a car park for 890 vehicles.
Who does Opus Arena serve?
The stadium meets the requirements of UEFA Category 4 and can host matches of national and international rank at the highest level. It is the most modern stadium in Croatia and in the entire region, and the first in the country with fully roofed stands. The main users of the arena are NK Osijek footballers, and the Croatian national team is also expected to play there.
How has the role of the former NK Osijek stadium changed after the opening of Opus Arena?
After the opening of the new facility, the old Gradski vrt stadium is used by NK Osijek reserve team. As a facility with a running track, it will also be used for athletics and for recreational sports by local residents.