Stade de France

Capacity81 338
6000 (VIP seats)
Country France
Inauguration 28.01.1998 (France – Spain 1–0)
Construction 05.1995 – 12.1997
Renovations 2006
Record attendance 81,100 (France – Algeria, 20.03.2010)
Cost € 364 mln
Design Michel Macary, Aymeric Zublena, Regembal Michel, Claude Costantini
Address Zac du Cornillon Nord, 93200 Saint-Denis


Stade de France – stadium description

Opened by president Jacques Chirac in late January 1998, the Stade de France is the largest venue of the country and holder of many records, including international ones. Since 1998 it played host to attendance-record rugby games and the most attended 2nd league game domestically (Red Star – St. Etienne in 1999 with over 48,000 tickets sold). Most importantly however it is the only venue in the world to host a World Cup final in both football (1998) and rugby (1999). Then come Champions League final and soon Euro 2016 final as well.

Designed by renown architects Macary and Zublena, the ground has a very distinctive roof – its most unique feature. Supported by just 46 slender columns the steel construction weighs a massive 13,000 tons, which equals 1,5 Eiffel Tower. It hangs 46 meters above the pitch and from the outside seems to levitate like a flying saucer. The flat roof follows the elliptic shape of athletics track, meaning to symbolize the universal character of sport.

Under the impressive roof are three tiers of seating with capacity depending on event. Lowest of the tiers is retractable, enabling for football/rugby-configuration or an athletic one. Changing from one to another takes about 80 hours and decreases capacity of this level from 25,000 to some 20,000. That means capacity for football stands at 81,338 and around 75,000 for athletics events. Largest crowds gather at concerts, though. Capacity then is at around 90,000, but record for a U2 gig stands at over 96,000. Due to frequent events involving spectators on the pitch, grass is relayed several times a year.

That seems to be a necessity however, as the stadium needs extra funding due to lack of anchor tenants. No club plays there, so the French government pays an annual subsidy for the ground to operate. Other sources of income are largest football and rugby events and of course concerts, with track and field bringing less profits.

First redevelopment took place in 2006 with new giant screens being the most distinctive part of the works. Another will be happening before Euro 2016 which will bring yet another cup final to the stadium.



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