Camp Nou

Capacity99 354
400 (VIP section)
1,000 (Bussiness seats)
282 (Press seats)
Country Spain
CityBarcelona
ClubsFC Barcelona
Floodlights 1770 lux
Inauguration 24.09.1957, FC Barcelona – Team of Warsaw 4–2
Construction 1954–1957
Renovations 1980–1982, 1993–1994, 1998
Design Francesc Mitjans Miró, Josep Soteras Mauri in cooperation with Lorenzo García Barbón
Address Avinguda Aristides Maillol, s/n, 08028, Barcelona

Description: Camp Nou

What were FC Barcelona's first venues?

The first venue of FC Barcelona, founded in late 1899, was the pitch inside the Bonanova cycling track. The next facility for the team was the field at the Casanovas Hotel, then the team played at the Camp de la carretera d'Horta and the Camp del carrer Muntaner. However, the team did not play at any of these venues for more than a few years.

In 1909, the Camp del carrer Indústria was opened, the first stadium owned by FC Barcelona. It was here that the club celebrated its first triumphs in Copa del Rey and won numerous Catalan championships, and the team's supporters were popularly known as "Culés" (from the word culo meaning butt), as the fans filled the stadium in large numbers and also sat on top of the surrounding wall, so that a row of buttocks appeared on the outside to passers-by. It also had the first stadium floodlighting in the country.

In 1922 FC Barcelona's new arena, Camp de Les Corts, was opened. In 1929 the club joined the newly created, nationwide Primera División, already in the first season winning this competition. In total, during the period of playing at the Camp de Les Corts the team won the Spanish championship six times. The initial capacity was 25,000 and although by the end of its existence the capacity was already 60,000 spectators, this was still too little for the rapidly growing club, and the solution was to build a new, even bigger stadium.

How was Camp Nou built?

The site for the club's new seventh stadium was purchased over a mile west of Camp de Les Corts. On March 28, 1954, a celebratory procession set out from the old stadium towards the newly purchased site, followed by the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone of the new stadium in front of a large crowd. At first, however, there was not much going on at the construction site, and works were mainly focused on the design of the new arena. The main architects of the stadium were Francesc Mitjans Miró (cousin of the then president of the club, Francesc Miró-Sansa) and Josep Soteras Mauri, in collaboration with Lorenzo García Barbón.

On July 11, 1955, the contract for the construction was signed with the main contractor, Ingar SA, who, for a sum of 66.62 million pesetas, pledged to build the facility within 18 months. The money was to come mainly from the club's members, the so-called socios, who bought bonds and passes in large numbers for up to 5 years. However, the construction costs far exceeded the originally planned budget, eventually reaching 288 million pesetas. The club did meet the payments, although it was heavily indebted. The financial crisis was only brought under control after the sale of the previous stadium (there were initially problems with the reclassification of the land on which the structure stood, and the issue was resolved after a few years, thanks in part to the intercession of Spanish leader Francisco Franco).

What did the newly opened Camp Nou look like?

The pitch of the new stadium was dug in 8 metres below ground level. It was surrounded on all sides by unified, gently profiled, two-level stands, with the second tier, based on a reinforced concrete structure, being considerably larger than the lower one. A third, narrow row of stands was also added on the west side and a roof was erected to cover all levels of the western stands. The original capacity was 93,053 spectators. Plans for further expansion to a capacity of up to 150,000 spectators were also drawn up at the time of design.

What was the Camp Nou opening match like in 1957?

The opening of the new stadium took place on September 24, 1957 (although the finishing works were still going on). Legia Warsaw was invited to the opening match, but by decision of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) a team made up of players from all over Poland flew to Barcelona and played under the banner of Warsaw team, with the mermaid crest on their jerseys. In front of an audience of 90,000, the hosts won the opening match 4:2.

Where did the name Camp Nou come from and what does it mean?

The new venue was simply named, Estadi del FC Barcelona (FC Barcelona stadium). This name was confirmed in a club referendum in 1965, although in fact an even simpler name, Camp Nou (the new stadium), was popular among supporters. In 2000/01 another vote was held among club members and this time Camp Nou was approved as the official name.

How was the Barça stadium developed?

The stadium did not undergo many changes and modernisations in its early days, the most important of which were the installation of floodlights (inaugurated for the European Cup match against CSKA Sofia on September 23, 1959) and the installation of a digital scoreboard in 1976.

Following Spain's hosting of the 1982 World Cup, the stadium was extended between 1980 and 1982 at a cost of 1.298 billion pesetas to include a third tier of stands. The only thing that did not need to be changed was the western stand, where a narrow strip of the third tier already existed, but it was extended across the entire facility and, as it moves away from the western stand, it gets increasingly higher, reaching its maximum elevation on the eastern side.

Along with the third storey also came two new wide LED boards, which were erected on the tops of the stands behind the goals. The extension fulfilled the original deisgn from 1957, but the capacity did not increase to 150,000 spectators as originally planned, but to 120,000 due to the installation of more seating. During the expansion, a VIP area and press boxes were also added to the stands.

Another major upgrade took place between 1993 and 1994, when the lower ring of stands was completely rebuilt, the ditch separating the pitch from the stands was removed and the pitch was lowered by an additional 2.5 metres. Standing places were also removed. In 1998, the stadium was equipped with new floodlighting and sound systems and a new underground car park under the main stand. Due to new regulations, the capacity of the venue fell slightly below 100,000 spectators in the late 1990s. Since the 2016/17 season, the pitch of the Camp Nou stadium has been equipped with a hybrid turf.

Between 2006 and 2009, the stadium underwent the largest seating upgrade in the world. The stadium's capacity is currently 99,354 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Europe and one of the largest in the world. The seats in the stands are in the club's colours - maroon (first and third floors) and dark blue (second floor), with the inscription 'FC Barcelona' on the western stand and the club's motto 'Més que un club' on the opposite side. The maximum height of the venue is 48 metres and it covers an area of 55,000 square metres. Inside the stadium there are, among others, offices, press rooms, television studios, a medical centre and even a chapel. The stadium was awarded UEFA's highest category in the 1998/99 season.

How is the Camp Nou situated?

The stadium is located in a dense urban area, although outside of Barcelona's inner city. Parking facilities are available within the venue as well as in the vicinity, however parking options are quite limited on match days. The stadium is well accessible by public transport, including several metro stations in its proximity.

What is there in the surroundings of the FC Barcelona stadium?

In 1971 the club's indoor arena (Palau Blaugrana) and indoor ice rink (Palau de Gel) were opened next to the stadium. In 1982, a smaller venue for more than 15,000 spectators, the so-called Miniestadi, was also opened behind the hall, which was used among others by FC Barcelona's reserves. In 2019/20 it was demolished to make room for FC Barcelona's new indoor arena (its successor was the Estadi Johan Cruyff, built a considerable distance from Camp Nou, about 8.5 km to the west). Since 1984 there is also a club museum, which is located between the stadium and Palau Blaugrana.

How popular is Camp Nou?

Attendance at FC Barcelona's stadium is one of the highest in Europe (for example, from 2004 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average number of spectators per match in a season only once fell below 70,000). Barça is one of the most recognisable football clubs in the world, making a significant contribution to increasing attendances from tourists, estimated at up to 10 000 per game. This is also helped by the fact that Barcelona itself is a city frequented by tourists. Tours of the stadium, which is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona, are also possible outside match days. It is combined with a visit to the club museum, which is one of the most visited museums in Catalonia.

What events has Camp Nou hosted?

The stadium has witnessed numerous successes for FC Barcelona, which has repeatedly won national and international trophies during their time playing at the venue. Interestingly, despite being the largest stadium in the country, the Spanish national team has only played a handful of matches there, which is mainly due to political reasons and the Catalans' sense of separateness. The non-FIFA Catalan national team also plays at the venue.

In 1964 Spain hosted the final tournament of the second European Nations' Cup (later European Championship). The matches were played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid and at Camp Nou, which hosted one of the semi-finals and the match for third place. In 1982 Camp Nou was one of the arenas of the football World Cup. It hosted the opening ceremony and the opening match of the tournament, as well as three matches of the second group and the semi-final, in which Italy beat Poland 2:0 on its way to its third title.

In 1992 Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games and Camp Nou became one of the arenas for the Olympic football tournament. The stadium hosted three group stage matches, two quarter-finals, one semi-final, the bronze medal match and the final, which Spain won against Poland 3:2 thanks to a goal scored in additional time. For the hosts, it was their first historic gold medal in an Olympic football competition.

On May 24, 1989, the European Cup final was played at Camp Nou (Steaua Bucharest - AC Milan 0:4). A decade later, on May 26, 1999, the stadium hosted the Champions League final (Manchester United - Bayern Munich 2:1), remembered for the two goals scored by the Red Devils in stoppage time that turned the tide of the match. In addition, the stadium has hosted the final matches of the Cup Winners' Cup (1972, 1982), as well as the meetings of the final two games of the European Super Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and the finals of the Copa del Rey.

Apart from numerous football events, Camp Nou has also hosted significant non-sporting events. Among others, the stadium hosted concerts of world-famous performers, which attracted large audiences, e.g. Julio Iglesias, Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and U2. On November 7, 1982, during his apostolic visit to Spain, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in the stadium in front of 120,000 people. On the same day, the president of FC Barcelona awarded pope, otherwise known for his fondness of Cracovia, a club membership card (socio) number 108,000.

Will Camp Nou sell its naming rights?

FC Barcelona have been known to resist proposals to put advertising on the players' jerseys for a long time (since the 2006/07 season, only the UNICEF logo has appeared there, which was replaced by the Qatar Foundation logo in 2011). The first commercial logo only appeared in 2013, when Qatar Airways advertised on them. Similarly, the sale of the stadium's naming rights was not even an option for years. However, the club's financial troubles and a substantial sponsorship offer led to the signing of a four-year deal with streaming service Spotify on March 15, 2022, one of the conditions of which will be the renaming of the stadium to Spotify Camp Nou. The new name is due to take effect from July 2022.

What are the plans for the future of the Camp Nou?

Planning for the next expansion of the stadium started as early as the beginning of the 21st century. In 2007, an architectural concept competition was held and the vision by Foster + Partners won, according to which the expanded stadium would hold more than 106,000 spectators. Due to the global financial crisis that followed shortly afterwards, the project ultimately failed to materialise.

In 2014, a referendum was held among the club's members in favour of the Espai Barça project, a vision to redevelop FC Barcelona's sports facilities, including the modernisation of Camp Nou as a major investment. So, in 2016, another competition was held for a concept for the modernisation of the stadium, in which the vision prepared by Nikken Sekkei and Joan Pascual and Ramon Ausió Arquitectes won. The project includes, among other things, expansion to a capacity of more than 105,000 spectators and full roofing of the stands. With investment costs rising exponentially, another internal referendum was held at the end of 2021, with members agreeing to complete Espai Barça on a budget of no more than €1.5 billion (900 million of which is to go towards the Camp Nou upgrade). The stadium redevelopment is expected to be completed between 2022 and 2025.

The venue is mentioned as part of Spain and Portugal's potential bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

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