Red Bull Arena (Zentralstadion)

Capacity47 069
Country Germany
Clubs RasenBallsport Leipzig
Inauguration 07/03/2004 (FC Sachsen Leipzig - Borussia Dortmund)
Cost € 116 million
Design Wirth+Wirth Architekten
Contractor EMKA Immobilien-Beteiligungs-GmbH
Address Am Sportforum 2-3, 04105 Leipzig


Red Bull Arena – stadium description

Remodeling of the Zentralstadion was confirmed in 2000, as Germany won the right to host the 2006 World Cup. The 100,000-capacity stadium was too large and outdated to remain unchanged and FIFA regulations gave Leipzig the requirement of 40,000+ capacity for the new stadium.

Despite planned changes the entire Sportforum complex was decided to remain intact, with secondary athletic stadium and tennis courts to the north and Festwiese meadow to the south. The old stadium itself was also preserved in a way very few redevelopments represent.

The entire stadium bowl was kept, all buildings dating back to 1956 were also retained. What used to be the top of previous stands is now the promenade surrounding entire stadium. Both inner and outer side of the old landfill became public green, while specially-built ramps connect the promenade with the stadium set inside the bowl.

The design work was carried out primarily by German/Swiss office Wirth+Wirth. Its most distinctive feature is the curved roof supported by light arches running along the field (engineered by IPL). Beneath it are stands with a lower tier surrounding the field and upper stands created only on sidelines.

A rare occurrence in stadium design is the location of club/player/media/corporate infrastructure within the east stand, not west. This shift from most frequent layout is caused by access issues in the west, where the stadium lies along the Elsterbecken canal.

Construction consumed €90 million, of which €51 million came from federal budget of Germany. The budget is a modest one, which is resembled by stadium infrastructure – apart from the east side the ground has few facilities, limited only to ones needed for matchday use.

Construction lasted between 2002 and 2004, allowing for the first game to be played in early March. Official opening took place on July 16 and 17, when an international tournament was held at the stadium, still called Zentralstadion. Then in November Germany held their first home game in Leipzig’s new stadium, beating Cameroon. In 2005 three games of the Confed Cup and then in 2006 five of the World Cup were held here.

The problem for the city became the lack of a club capable of filling the stadium on a daily basis. Although the first match after the redevelopment attracted more than 28,000 spectators, the Sachsen club ceased to exist less than a decade later, and neither it nor Lokomotive were able to gather adequate audiences to make money from matches.

In an attempt to solve the problem, the Red Bull Group took over the licence of fifth-tier SSV Markrandstadt and created RB Leipzig, which has been playing matches in its new stadium since 2010. The artificially created club has faced huge opposition from fans across Germany, but has been playing in the Bundesliga since 2016, regularly checking in at the top of the table, attracting fan and media interest.

How Red Bull Arena compares to other Bundesliga stadiums?



Related news