|Cost||€155 M ($171.4 M)|
|Design||agn Niederberghaus & Partner|
BBBank Wildpark – stadium description
How did Karlsruher SC's former stadium look like?
The old Wildparkstadion was opened in 1955. The stadium was built on the site of the former FC Phönix club facilities, which were constructed back in the 1920s. The stadium has undergone several upgrades over the years. The facility had an athletics track and stands based mostly on earth ramparts, and its main user was the Karlsruher SC team.
When were the first plans for the redevelopment of Wildparkstadion conceived?
The first plans for the redevelopment of Wildparkstadion were made at the turn of the 20th century by designer Luigi Colani. The project was intended to allow Karlsruhe to become one of the host cities of the 2006 World Cup. The bold vision stood out with its unusual, futuristic canopy, but the realisation of this project was unrealistic for the time. Another concept, also unrealized, was prepared in 2002 by architects from Büro Fiebiger.
What was the path to the new Karlsruher SC stadium like?
Real talks about the future stadium began in 2005, with various locations initially being considered. In March 2006, the city and the club revealed plans for the redevelopment of Wildparkstadion, after which it would be transformed into a football-specific arena. The project was intended to be completed between 2007 and 2008.
In August 2006, however, the club declared that it was not in a position to make a significant contribution to the construction costs of the stadium. Despite this, the city continued to make efforts to get the new facility built. A financing model was worked out whereby €30 million for the construction was to come from the municipal budget, €10 million was to be contributed by the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the missing €18 million was to come from a low-interest municipal loan.
The plan was to rebuild the stadium while retaining the existing main stand. The capacity of the modernised arena was to be around 35,000-40,000 spectators (all seats under roof), and the total cost of the works was estimated at €58 million.
The issue of determining the financing model caused the project to be delayed. In the meantime, discussions about building a new stadium at a different location also came to life, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology expressed interest in taking over the old facility. Following the interest of a private investor (Newport), the idea of building in Mastweide, close to the motorway junction, was strongly considered, but this aroused protests from local allotment holders.
In the summer of 2011, renovation work was carried out on Wildparkstadion and the topic of building a new facility was temporarily put to rest. Further upgrades took place in the next two years at a total cost of €2.8 million. In 2013, however, there was a meeting between the city's mayor and the club's president and discussions about building a stadium resumed. A project involving the construction of a pyramid-shaped arena appeared in the media.
At the end of 2013, it was finally decided that a new stadium would be built to replace the old Wildparkstadion. In October 2014, the city council voted to build the stadium from scratch without retaining the old stand. This solution was more expensive, but offered more opportunities to create commercial space and eliminated the need to undertake repairs and maintenance in the initial period after redevelopment.
In July 2016, city councillors voted in favour of building the stadium. In October 2016, the city purchased the missing piece of land needed to realise the redevelopment. The tender procedure for the design and construction of the new stadium started in December 2016.
In spring 2017, the city set up an entity called 'Eigenbetrieb Fußballstadion im Wildpark' to carry out the investment. During the tender process, it became clear that the cost of implementation would be more than €9 million higher than expected, amounting to €122.95 million. Part of the costs were borne by the club, but the main burden of financing fell on the city authorities.
When did the redevelopment of Wildparkstadion begin?
The redevelopment was to take place in stages, maintaining the functionality of the facility. Nevertheless, before the first demolition work started, a farewell ceremony was organised at the stadium for the old facility on November 3, 2018, on the occasion of the league match against Würzburger Kickers (2:1).
Two days later, on November 5, the symbolic start of the redevelopment took place and the demolition of the northern curve began. The signing of the contract with the main contractor, which became BAM Sports, took place on November 19, 2018. Renderings of the future stadium were also shown on the occasion. The design of the new venue was prepared by agn Niederberghaus & Partner.
The architectural concept of the new Karlsruher SC stadium can be seen on a separate subpage
How did the construction of the new Karlsruher SC stadium go?
A report on the construction of the new Karlsruher SC stadium can be viewed on a separate subpage
After the first arch was demolished, a temporary makeshift stand was erected behind the north goal. This was followed by the demolition of the south arch of the stadium, where a temporary stand was also erected (it was ready in summer 2019). In early 2019, temporary floodlighting masts were also erected behind the corners of the pitch. Meanwhile, Karlsruher SC was promoted to the 2. Bundesliga in 2019.
In August 2019, demolition of the old east stand began. After demolition, the construction of the new stand began (the groundbreaking was made on December 9, 2019). The stand was ready in September 2020, but was initially not used because, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, matches were held without spectators until the end of the 2020/21 season.
In November 2020, demolition of the main stand began. Once the demolition work was completed, construction of the new main stand began in May 2021. In the summer of 2021, after a year of construction, the new stand behind the east goal was also completed and at the beginning of the 2021/22 season it was, together with the previously built new east stand, opened to fans.
In June 2021, the stadium gained a title sponsor and was renamed BBBank Wildpark under a five-year sponsorship agreement. In October 2021, the demolition of the temporary stand behind the north goal, which had begun at the end of the summer, was completed and replaced by a new one, which had already been built according to the concept of the new stadium. The inauguration of the new stand took place on September 10, 2022.
When was the new BBBank Wildpark opened?
The main stand was the last to be completed. Originally, the entire facility was supposed to be ready in May 2022, but the work was extended by more than a year. The inauguration of the stadium with a complete set of new stands took place on July 19, 2023, and for the opening the hosts played a friendly against England's FC Liverpool. The match, played in front of a full house, ended in a 4:2 victory for the visitors. In the end, the total cost of building the stadium was €155 million.
What does BBBank Wildpark look like?
The new stadium has a typically footballing, rectangular form. The pitch is surrounded by single-tier stands with a capacity of 34,302 spectators. Inside, the dominant colour scheme is blue. The 12,325 seats are in standing sections, which are located in two places: in the stand behind the south goal (the section for the most ardent supporters) and in the northern corner (the visitors' section). The main stand with boxes and backstage area is located on the south-west side.
The stands are fully covered by a flat roof with a strip of glazing at the end. A row of 74 distinctive Y-shaped branched columns runs along the outer perimeter of the stadium. More inwardly, along the last rows of stands, there is another row of 74 reinforced concrete columns that extend above the building to form a colonnade that provides support for the roof structure.
The back of the main stand houses, among other things, changing rooms, coaches' rooms, physiotherapy rooms, a conference room and the main club store. Throughout the stadium there are 24 ticket offices, 22 catering kiosks (including one in the visitors' sector) and 32 toilets (plus an additional six for the disabled). The stadium is equipped with a heated pitch and 1,600 lux floodlighting installed in the roof.
The new Karlsruher SC team facility was built on the site of the former Wildparkstadion and is located in the Hardtwald forest, about one kilometre from the Karlsruhe Palace. The surroundings of the stadium include training pitches and tennis courts, as well as car parking and bicycle parking spaces.