Abanca Balaídos

Capacity24 685
120 (VIP seats)
160 (Press seats)
Country Spain
ClubsCelta de Vigo
Inauguration 30/12/1928 (Celta de Vigo – Unión de Irún, 7–0)
Construction 1925–1928
Renovations 1946, 1969–1971, 1981–1982, 2015–?
Record attendance 45,000 (Celta de Vigo – Getafe, 1982)
Address Avenida de Balaídos, s/n – 36210 Vigo


Abanca Balaídos – stadium description

How did Estadio Balaídos develop?

At the end of 1924, Celta Vigo was informed of the need to relocate in the near future from the previously used Campo de Coia, which was to be demolished due to the construction of a new tram line. A new site was purchased for around 50,000 pesetas less than two kilometres south of the existing stadium, next to the Río Lagares. The area around the site was still completely undeveloped at the time.

A company, Stadium de Balaídos S.A., was formed to manage the construction of the new stadium. The ambitious design for the new 22,000-seater stadium, with a running track around the pitch, was prepared by a well-known local architect, Jenaro de la Fuente. However, due to the limited budget (1 million pesetas), far-reaching changes had to be made to the design, simplifying it considerably.

The stadium was initially scheduled to be completed at the end of 1926, but it did not open until December 30, 1928, and on its inauguration Celta Vigo beat Real Unión de Irún 7:0 in a friendly match. After the stadium opened, Stadium de Balaídos S.A. was responsible for the maintenance of the facility, collecting a portion of the profits from ticket sales and club membership fees.

How was Celta Vigo's stadium remodelled?

In 1946, the municipality took over the stadium, where the stands on the west, south and east sides were rebuilt. In 1969, the venue was upgraded with floodlights and another rebuilding of the stands began, which lasted until 1971, resulting in new stands on the west, north and east sides.

The new eastern stand was slightly lower than the other two and had only one tier, while the auditorium in the other two stands was divided into two tiers (with seating at the top). All the new stands were also covered with a somewhat unusual concrete roof. The stands behind the goals were curved so that the stadium could still accommodate a, slightly flattened on the corners, athletics track.

Thanks to the staging of the 1982 World Cup by Spain, of which Vigo became one of the host cities, a new south stand was built. The old one was blown up in 1981 and the new structure was completed in time for the tournament. The new main stand, covered by a metal canopy, was by far the tallest in the stadium.

In order to create more space, the nearby river was channelled under the new stand. From the outside, the structure was given a distinctive shape, with a broad lower section that narrows noticeably towards the top. After the construction of the new main stand, the capacity of the arena was 33,000 spectators, of which 30,000 were seated (standing room only was left in the lower level of the eastern stand).

The last standing areas of the stadium were removed in 1996 and the wooden benches were also replaced with plastic seating. Further upgrades were carried out to adapt the facility to the requirements of the Champions League, in which Celta Vigo played in the 2003/04 season.

In 2003, the club's at the time president, Horacio Gómez, put forward an ambitious plan to completely redevelop the venue, including the construction of a hotel and shopping centre, but the idea did not meet with the approval of the local authorities, largely due to objections from the management of a nearby car factory.

The stadium in Vigo was part of Portugal and Spain's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, with plans to redevelop the stadium if it was awarded the hosting rights. However, in December 2010, Russia was chosen to host the tournament.

Will Estadio Balaídos be given a new, football-specific shape?

In 2014, a new concept for the redevelopment of the stadium was conceived, called 'new wave'. Under this concept, the venue was to get a more rectangular, football-typical layout. New stands behind the goals were to be built much closer to the pitch, and the athletics track was to be removed. The stands along the side of the pitch were also to be partly rebuilt, and the whole facility was to be given a coherent form and a distinctive blue façade made of corrugated 3-metre-wide aluminium strips, alluding to the waves of the ocean.

The implementation of the new concept began with the reconstruction of the north stand, which was carried out between 2015 and 2017. The existing stand structure was partially retained, but the lower tier of the auditorium was made from scratch. The grandstand also received a new roof and façade, and the two lighting masts standing in the corners were removed in exchange for floodlights embedded in the canopy.

As part of the next stage of redevelopment, the main (south) stand was modernised in 2017-2018. Among other things, the auditorium and back facilities were renovated, and a new roof and exterior in line with the new vision were created. In 2021, the eastern arch of the stand was demolished and construction of a new stand, which was erected much closer to the end of the pitch, began in its place. Its inauguration took place on the occasion of the league match against FC Barcelona on June 4, 2023. The final stage of the project is to be the redevelopment of the western part of the stadium.

What events does Estadio Balaídos host?

Since its inception, the stadium has been the home arena of Celta Vigo. In addition to the team's regular matches, the Spanish national team or the unofficial Galician national team have occasionally played at the venue. In 1982, the stadium hosted three matches of the group stage of the football World Cup. It has also played host to other sporting and non-sporting events, including concerts by well-known music stars (Madonna, Dire Straits and The Rolling Stones among others). The stadium is being considered as part of Spain and Portugal's potential bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

What does Celta Vigo’s venue look like?

Three of the stadium's four stands have been upgraded in line with the 2014 redevelopment concept, gaining, among other things, a distinctive undulating facade. The main stand (south stand) and the stand behind the east goal were divided into two tiers.

The stand behind the west goal is the only one that still retains its 'old' form. It has an arch shape and is the lowest in the stadium. It is covered with an unusual concrete roof. There are plans to demolish it in the near future and build a new one in its place, just like the eastern stand.

The blue colour scheme of the facility and the custom-built corners in the eastern section draw attention. It is interesting to note that the riverbed of the Río Lagares, which flows past, has been routed under the main stand. As of 2018, the stadium's title sponsor is Abanca

How Abanca Balaídos compares to other LaLiga stadiums?



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