2013 STADIA ROUND-UP

With 2013 complete, stadiadirectory.com rounds-up the ongoings during the past 12 months for sports venues around the world. 

2013 began on a sad note in the stadium world, with Sheffield City Council making the first indication that the Don Valley Stadium could close as part of cost-cutting measures. Bath City also announced that they may have to vacate Twerton Park, their home of 71 years, in order to prevent the club folding. 

There was plenty of stadia news across the pond in the United States, as New York Cosmos and the Los Angeles Dodgers both announced improvements to their existing homes.

In February, Stoke City and Reading signalled their intentions to expand the Britannia Stadium and Madejski Stadium respectively, while Bristol City revealed alternative plans to redevelop Ashton Gate

Then followed the first sign of cracks in the construction of stadia for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil; workers on the Maracana Stadium walked out, threatening a full-scale strike, with construction coming to a standstill.

These problems continued into March, as the stadium was still unfinished with three months to go until Brazil played England at the iconic venue. West Ham United signed a 99-year lease to be the main tenants of East London’s Olympic Stadium despite Leyton Orient’s attempts to halt the move.

April started with positive news for Gloucester City, who agreed another season of dual-tenancy at Cheltenham Town; Aldershot, who opened a new stand; and Hayes and Yeading, whose Sharda Glass Community Stadium started to take shape. It was bad news for the Don Valley, though, with all hope of the stadium in Sheffield remaining open extinguished, as councillors confirmed its demolition

The month ended with Swansea, Bournemouth, Cardiff and Paris Saint-Germain all looking to expand their stadia, and the Maracana was finally re-opened for a friendly match. Worcester City bode farewell to St George’s Lane, Barnet to Underhill and Cambridge City to Milton Road, after a combined 304 years at the respective grounds

The 13 venues for the 2015 rugby union World Cup in England were announced at the start of May, just before Coventry City were locked out of the Ricoh Arena and began their search for a new home. Fears continued over the 2014 FIFA World Cup stadia, with the roof of the Arena Fonte Nova collapsing due to heavy rainfall.

In June, Brentford submitted a planning application for a new stadium at Lionel Roadand Liverpool pressed on with their proposed expansion of Anfield, while UEFA backed France to have their stadia ready in time for the 2016 European Championships. But the month was marred with sad news for the stadia world, as a 63-year-old named Donald White, an elevator mechanic, was killed on the construction site of the new San Francisco 49ers stadium.

Thirteen years after it hosted the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, a new roof was planned for Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in July. News from Northampton during the seventh month of the year was two-fold, as the town's football club tagreed a £12 million redevelopment of thier Sixfields Stadium with Northampton Borough Council, and a deal was reportedly made for Coventry City to play their home games at the venue for three years.

Munster’s Thomond Park was voted the best rugby stadium in the world by rugby supporters in August. In the same month, stadiadirectory.com launched a stadium ‘rant’ line to help disgruntled fans voice their opinions. August also saw the United States Tennis Association announce plans to build a retractable roof over the Arthur Ashe court, and the transformation work began on London’s Olympic Stadium.

Seattle Seahawks broke a Guinness World Record in September for the loudest stadium in sports history. The noise reached 136.6 decibels against the San Francisco 49ers, almost five decibels louder than the previous record set by Turkish football club Galatasaray. Leyton Orient, despite continued campaigning, lost their chance for a judicial review in the High Court for a share of the Olympic Stadium.

The Seahawks’ record didn’t last long, as Kansas City Chiefs topped 137.5 decibels against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium the following month. October was particularly notable for 2014 FIFA World Cup stadia. First, construction on Arena da Baixada was suspended by a Brazilian judge after fears about workers’ safety, then the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza was damaged by supporters clashing.

That was followed in November by news that two workers were killed at Sao Paulo’s Stadium when a crane collapsed, destroying part of one of the stands. Bury and Derby County both renamed their grounds in substantial commercial deals, and the Atlanta Braves MLB franchise announced they will leave Turner Field in 2017. Yet another stadium record was broken at the end of the month, as 74,468 fans packed inside Old Trafford for the Rugby League World Cup Final - a record attendance for an international rugby league fixture. 

The final month of 2013 saw Scunthorpe United, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City all push ahead with new stadium details, whilst Brentford’s Lionel Road project was given the green light after years of planning. 

Marylebone Cricket Club announced a £21m redevelopment of Lord’s Cricket Ground, as December 2013 ended with another stadium record being broken. Melbourne Cricket Ground welcomed 91,112 spectators through its doors for day one of the fourth Ashes test between Australia and England - a world-record crowd for a single day of international Test cricket. 

2013: a record-breaking year, marred by a number of fatalities, in the stadia world.

Posted on 03/01/2014