6 of the biggest sports stadia under development
11 April 2023
Sports stadia are often some of the most high-profile construction projects thanks to the strong levels of interest and passion they evoke in fans.
Several huge new stadia for different sports including soccer and cricket are under development and construction around the world.
But as this article reveals, few such developments run smoothly, particularly since the covid-19 pandemic.
International Construction examines six of the biggest sports stadia projects:
1) Guangzhou Evergrande Football Stadium, China
The biggest stadium on the list also faces one of the most uncertain futures.
With a capacity of 100,000, the Guangzhou Evergrande Football Stadium would have become the world’s largest dedicated to football.
With a design inspired by the shape of a lotus flower, it would also have served as a flagship arena for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Construction so far has involved the excavation of 300,000 cubic metres of soil and the driving of 3,200 piles to stabilise the structure.
Two underground floors site under the wider stadium site, housing a 5,300-car parking site. Under the plans, the concrete seating bowl is wrapped by a steel structure that reaches 92m at its highest point.
But construction stalled prior to the stadium’s expected completion at the end of 2022.
The project saw costs balloon to an estimated US$1.7 billion.
Developer Evergrande Group cited liquidity issues after it struggled with the fallout from covid pandemic-related lockdowns and changes to China’s real estate regulations.
The developer cancelled a land contract with the local government and returned four parcels of land to the Guangzhou government for a US$818 million refund.
The future of the stadium is now unclear.
2) Grand Stade de Casablanca, Morocco
The Grand Stade de Casablanca, with a proposed capacity of 95,000, is another stadium with an uncertain future.
Originally planned for completion in 2025 ahead of a bid for the World Cup in 2026, little has been heard of the project since 2019.
At that time, Morocco’s sports ministry invited tenders for urban and architectural programming on the project.
It identified the province of Benslimane, 38km from Casablanca to play host to the stadium.
That was due to be followed by an architectural competition for the project and the selection of contractors for its construction.
While the project is delayed, local authorities in Casablanca are still hoping that it will eventually get off the ground.
3) New Administrative Capital Stadium, Egypt
Contractor Orascom is overseeing the construction of the 93,000-capacity New Administrative Capital Stadium in Egypt.
The stadium will be the second largest in Africa (after the FNB stadium in Johannesburg) and the largest in Egypt when completed in June 2023.
Work on the project began in 2019, following a design by Italian companies SHESA Architects and MJW Structures.
Details on the engineering behind the stadium are scarce but the structure is surrounded by cable-stayed columns supporting a membrane roof.
The New Administrative capital sits 50km to the east of Cairo.
The stadium sits in a wider sports complex, alongside an Olympic-sized swimming pool and training grounds.
It is expected to feature in future Olympic or World Cup bids.
4) Jaipur cricket stadium, India
Contractor Dee Vee Projects has started to build what could eventually become the world’s third largest cricket stadium near Jaipur, in the state of Rajasthan.
The stadium complex sits on 100 acres (40 hectares) of land and will include a training academy, 30 practice nets, two other cricket grounds and a club house.
The stadium project for Rajasthan Cricket Association is being undertaken in two phases – a 45,000 seat stadium, to which another 30,000 would be added in the second phase.
The stadium is expected to cost INR 3.5 billion (US$42 million).
5) Estadio de los Tigres, Mexico
Work is expected to start soon on a US$430 million, 65,000-capacity stadium to house Mexican football club Tigres UANL.
Australian architecture firm Populous announced in 2022 that it would design the stadium and a land agreement for the site in Nuevo León was signed at the start of 2023.
The multi-use stadium will feature separate changing rooms for Tigre’s male and female teams and a retractable pitch that will allow soccer, athletics, and American football events alongside concerts.
The scheme also incorporates retail, hospitality, hotel rooms, offices, and classrooms for the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL).
The new stadium will be close to the Tigres’ current home, which means that the team will not have to relocate during construction.
It is due to be delivered by 2025.
6) Adey Abeba National Stadium, Ethiopia
China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) started the second phase of construction of Ethiopia’s Adey Abeba National Stadium in Addis Ababa in August 2020.
The multi-purpose venue will have a capacity of 60,000 and cover a floor space of 103,000 sq m.
The second phase involves the engineering of a 6,000t steel structure and a 6,500 sq m tensile membrane.
The works also involve the construction of four separate buildings outside the stadium, warehouses, outdoor sunken amphitheatres, and training grounds.
But in November 2022, the government of Ethiopia warned that it was considering terminating CSCEC’s contract after the price of construction rose by a third from the initial agreed budget of 5.5 Ethiopian Birr (US$100 million).
The first phase cost 2.47 billion Ethiopian Birr (US$46 million). It is not clear at this stage when the stadium will be completed.