|Location||Etihad Campus, Manchester|
|Owner||Manchester City Council|
|Operator||Manchester City F.C.|
|Capacity||53,400 – Domestic football
53,000 – UEFA-governed football
60,000 – Music concerts
41,000 (2002 Commonwealth Games)
|Record Attendance||54,693 (Manchester City vs Leicester City, 6 February 2016)|
|Field Size||105 by 68 metres (114.8 yd × 74.4 yd)|
The City of Manchester Stadium (often abbreviated as COMS) in Manchester, England, also known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the home of Premier League club Manchester City F.C., with a domestic football capacity of 53,400, making it the fifth-largest in the Premier League and tenth-largest in the United Kingdom.
Built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the stadium has since staged the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, England football internationals, rugby league matches, a boxing world title fight, the England rugby union team’s last match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and summer music concerts during the football off-season.
The stadium, originally proposed as an athletics arena in Manchester’s bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics, was converted after the 2002 Commonwealth Games from a 38,000 capacity arena to a 48,000 seat football stadium at a cost to the city council of £22 million and to Manchester City of £20 million. Manchester City F.C. agreed to lease the stadium from Manchester City Council and moved there from Maine Road in the summer of 2003.
The stadium was built by Laing Construction at a cost of £112 million and was designed and engineered by Arup, whose design incorporated a cable-stayed roof structure which is separated from the main stadium bowl and suspended entirely by twelve exterior masts and attached cables. The stadium design has received much praise and many accolades, including an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2004 for its innovative inclusive building design and a special award in 2003 from the Institution of Structural Engineers for its unique structural design.
In August 2015, a 7,000 seat third tier on the South Stand was completed, in time for the start of the 2015–16 football season. The expansion was designed to be in keeping with the existing roof design.
It’s the roller-coaster roof, visible from miles around, that is the big giveaway. It has a similar lightweight canopy that swoops up and down over the stands in one almost continuous wave. Held up by nothing more than thread-like cables, this is structural gymnastics of the most exhilarating kind, vastly superior to the clunky steel trusses that conventionally support stadium roofs.
- Roof Design
The toroidal-shaped stadium roof is held together by a tensioned system, which has been described as “ground-breaking” by New Steel Construction magazine. The stadium’s architectural focal point is the sweeping roof and support masts which are separate from the concrete bowl. A catenary cable is situated around the inner perimeter of the roof structure which is tied to the masts via forestay cables. Backstay cables and corner ties from the masts are connected to the ground to support the structure.
- Facilities and Pitch
The stadium has facilities for players and match officials in a basement area below the west stand, which also contains a kitchen providing meals for up to 6,000 people on match days, press rooms, ground staff storage, and a prison cell. The stadium also has conference facilities and is licensed for marriage ceremonies. Fitting out of the hospitality suites, kitchens, offices, and concourse concessions was accomplished by KSS Architects, and included the installation of the communications cabling and automatic access control system.
The stadium’s interior comprises a continuous oval bowl, with three tiers of seating at the sides, and two tiers at each end. Entry by patrons is gained by contactless smart card rather than traditional manned turnstiles. The system can admit up to 1,200 people per minute through all entrances.
A service tunnel under the stadium provides access for emergency vehicles and the visiting team’s coach to enter the stadium directly. Once inside the stadium patrons have access to six themed restaurants, two of which have views of the pitch, and there are 70 executive boxes above the second tier of seating in the north, west and east stands.
The stadium is equipped with stand-by generators should there be an electrical mains failure. These are capable of keeping the stadium electrics running as well as the floodlights at 800 lux, the minimum level stipulated by FIFA to continue to broadcast live football.
The stadium was named the City of Manchester Stadium by Manchester City Council before construction began in December 1999, but has a number of commonly used alternatives. City of Manchester Stadium is abbreviated to CoMS when written and spoken. Eastlands refers to the site and the stadium before they were named SportCity and CoMS respectively, and remains in common usage for both the stadium and the whole complex, as does SportCity but with less frequency.
The stadium was also officially referred to as Manchester City Stadium for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The football club, under its new ownership, renegotiated its 250-year lease with the city council in October 2010, gaining the naming rights in return for a substantial increase in rent.
The stadium was renamed the Etihad Stadium by the club in July 2011 as part of a ten-year agreement with the team kit sponsors Etihad Airways. The agreement encompasses sponsorship of the stadium’s name, extends the team kit sponsorship for ten years, and relocated the club’s youth academy and training facilities to the City Football Academy onto the Etihad Campus development across the road from the stadium.
First Public Football Match
The first public football match at the stadium was a friendly between Manchester City and Barcelona on 10 August 2003. Manchester City won the game 2–1, with Nicolas Anelka scoring the first ever goal in the stadium.
The first competitive match followed four days later, a UEFA Cup match between Manchester City and Welsh Premier League side The New Saints, which City won 5–0 with Trevor Sinclair scoring the first competitive goal in the stadium. Having started the Premier League season with an away match, Manchester City’s first home league fixture in the new stadium was on 23 August, a game drawn 1–1 with Portsmouth, with Pompey’s Yakubu scoring the first league goal in the stadium.
2011–12 saw the Etihad Stadium play host to the setting of a number of new club and Premier League footballing records, such as the club becoming the first ever team to win eleven of its opening twelve games in a Premier League season, and going on to remain unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium in all nineteen of the Premier League games played there. The club’s record of 55 home points out of a possible 57 at the stadium is a joint best Premier League record, and the club’s record of twenty consecutive home wins at the stadium (going back to the end of the previous season) also set a new Premier League record in March 2012.
- Etihad Campus and CFA
In July 2011, CoMS was renamed the Etihad Stadium, sponsored by Etihad Airways who fought off competition from Ferrostaal and Aabar to gain the stadium naming rights. The lucrative ten-year sponsorship deal included not just the naming rights to the stadium itself but to the whole £200 million complex of football-related facilities into which it was soon to be incorporated.
In mid-September 2011, development plans were duly announced for a new state-of-the-art youth academy and training facility, now known as the City Football Academy (CFA) to be built on derelict land adjacent to the stadium and which would include a 7,000 capacity mini-stadium plus fifteen additional outdoor football pitches, six swimming pools and three gyms.
- Community outreach/Urban regeneration
As part of Manchester City’s commitment to community outreach in their redevelopment plans for the areas of East Manchester adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, other urban regeneration plans incorporated into the overall Etihad Campus development project include the new £43 million Beswick Community Hub, that includes Connell Sixth Form College; a community leisure centre (with swimming pool, dance studio, health and fitness gym, rugby pitch, and grass sports pitches); and a planned Manchester Institute of Health and Performance.
Under the terms of its lease, the stadium is able to host non-football events such as concerts, boxing and rugby fixtures at Manchester City’s prerogative. Manchester City applied for a permanent entertainment licence in 2012 in a bid to expand the number of non-footballing events at the stadium.
Outside the football season, the stadium hosts annual summer concerts, and is one of the United Kingdom’s largest music venues, having a maximum capacity of 60,000 for performances. It was the largest stadium concert venue in England before the new Wembley Stadium was built.
The first concert was a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers supported by James Brown in 2004.
- Other Football Events
CoMS is rated a category 4 stadium by UEFA and has hosted several major football matches in addition to Manchester City’s home fixtures. It became the fiftieth stadium to host an England international football match when the English and Japanese national teams played on 1 June 2004. In June 2005, the stadium hosted England’s opening game in the UEFA Women’s Championship, setting an attendance record of 29,092 for the competition. The stadium also hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, in which Zenit Saint Petersburg defeated Rangers 2–0.
- Other Sports
In October 2004, the stadium played host to a rugby league international match between Great Britain and Australia in the Tri-Nations series in front of nearly 40,000 spectators.
The stadium also hosted the Magic Weekend for three consecutive seasons (2012–2014). After a record attendance in 2012 – both for a single day (32,953) and the aggregate for the whole weekend (63,716) – the Etihad Stadium became the venue of choice for this annual rugby league event, setting another attendance record (36,339/64,552) for it in May 2014.
On 24 May 2008, Stockport born and twice IBF and IBO light welterweight champion boxer Ricky Hatton defeated Juan Lazcano in a contest billed as “Hatton’s Homecoming”. The fight was held in front of 56,337 fans, setting a record attendance for a British boxing event post World War II.
On 10 October 2015, the stadium hosted a 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between hosts nation England and Uruguay. England won 60–3 with 50,778 in attendance.
The City of Manchester Stadium was renamed the Etihad Stadium by Manchester City club in July 2011 as part of a ten-year agreement with the team kit sponsors Etihad Airways.
The stadium was built by Laing Construction and was designed and engineered by Arup Group Ltd.
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