Friends Arena

Capacity54 329
50,653 (International capacity)
Country Sweden
CitySolna
ClubsAIK Fotboll
Other names Swedbank Arena (2009-2012)
Inauguration 27/10/2012
Opening game 14/11/2012 (Sweden - England, 4-2)
Construction 07/12/2009 - 10/2012
Cost SEK 2.8 billion
Design Berg | C. F. Møller Architects, Arkitekterna Krook&Tjäder, Populous (cooperation)
Contractor Peab

Description: Friends Arena

Plans for a new stadium appeared in 2004 when it was obvious that Råsunda would only get more outdated with passing time. Construction nearby was possible when masterplan for new centre of Solna was drawn. Design work was carried out by Berg Arkitektkontor, which later merged with C.F. Møller, and Arkitekterna Krook&Tjadär (global giant Populous also played a role). The task was a real challenge: to create one of the most multifunctional venues worldwide, capable of holding any event.

Back in 2009 the stadium’s budget was estimated at SEK 2.3 billion, later proved lower at 1.9 billion, but eventually elevated to 2.8 billion. For this price Solna received a 51,000-seat stadium with three tiers for audience, retractable roof, one demountable stand and first ever air conditioning system.

Local football team AIK was given special attention as the anchor tenant. For domestic games with lower attendances the highest tier may be completely hidden behind curtains, allowing to avoid the feeling of too big stadium. Lowest tier on the north side was converted to terracing to meet fans demands, increasing capacity for domestic ties to over 54,000 and decreasing it back to 51,000 when all-seater mode applies.

Those are just some of the solutions implemented as months before opening the operator already had contracts for various football games, hockey matches, speedway grand prix, several giant concerts and a horse show.

Opening took place on October 27 2012 with a special ceremony. First game was a friendly between Sweden and England. It wasn’t only a chance to beat the English, it was also a symbolic connection to the old Råsunda which was also opened with this fixture in 1937.

Naming rights deal had been secured by Swedbank in 2009, but name changed in 2012 when the bank decided to promote its social awareness campaign, dropping Swedbank Arena for Friends Arena. The contract lasts until 2023.

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