Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Av. de Concha Espina, 1, 28036 Madrid, Spain
From the Estrada Lot to O'Donnel field
The newly created Madrid Foot Ball Club (1902) set up home on a large area of land near the old bullring. It was leased from Queen Cristina, its owner, for an annual fee of 150 pesetas. Fans would crowd together around the pitch to see the first official games. An adjacent building, La Taurina tavern, was used both as the dressing rooms as well as for storage. Owned by the Padrós brothers, it was used by the players to change and to store the goalposts.
With the passing of the years, and with the growing number of fans, the club was forced to look for a new home. It needed a larger ground that could cater to so many eager fans wanting to watch football. The Whites following home was at O’Donnell, which became the city’s most modern ground. For the first time a fence separated the players from the fans, preventing ground invasions. The construction of two grandstands meant that the stadium had capacity for 6,000 fans.
Estadio de Chamartín
The sale of the land at O’Donnell in order to build housing resulted in Real Madrid having to find a new stadium. The Velodrome at Ciudad Lineal was suitable for what was needed at the time (1923). Arturo Soria, its designer, adapted it for football. It was the first ground with grass, and had capacity for 8,000 fans. Its spaciousness and comfort were not sufficient advantages though, given the difficulty in getting to the ground. A year later the club would build a stadium at Chamartín, abandoning Ciudad Lineal.
After winning the Central Region title in 1923, Real Madrid abandoned the old ground at O’Donnell and set itself the adventurous task of building a new stadium. A year later the Old Chamartín Stadium was born. A historic sporting complex with capacity for 15,000 fans, the Whites called it home for 23 years. The Whites’ inaugurated the ground with a close 3-2 victory over the English side Newcastle, at the time a fearsome opponent.
Carlos López-Quesada, a former Whites’ player, and several times a club administrator, was the man behind the idea. José María Castell was in charge of the construction work. The project included the construction of a grandstand with a roof with a capacity for 4,000 seated fans, with all the amenities and comfort. Controversy arose when it came to naming the stadium. While a group wanted to name it ‘Parque de Sports del Real Madrid’, the majority wanted to call it ‘Campo del Real Madrid Fútbol Club’. The fans however called it ‘Chamartín’, and despite never being its official name, this is the name that went down into history.
The Birth of Santiago Bernabéu
The Civil War broke out on 18 July 1936, and its effects on the Old Chamartín were significant, leaving it in a dreadful state. To repair the extensive damage it was necessary to invest an important sum of money. In October 1939 it was reopened for the first post-war derby, in which the Whites beat Atlético Madrid 2-1. The fans’ enthusiasm did not wane with the military conflict and the ground was at full capacity. After successive refurbishments, the stadium’s capacity was increased to 25,000 fans, but this was not sufficient to attend to the large demand.
Santiago Bernabéu, who for a long time dreamt of building a new stadium, made it a reality in 1943 when he ascended to the presidency. He began construction on a major project that some deemed overly-ambitious, a pharaonic stadium with capacity for 100,000 fans. An impressive stadium that would bear witness to some of the most brilliant pages in the history of Real Madrid. The New Chamartín Stadium became the best ground in Europe and one of the most modern in the world. It was inaugurated in December of 1947, with a victory over the Portuguese champions, Os Belenenses (3-1). Barinaga scored the first goal at the new stadium.
New Bernabéu Stadium
Santiago Bernabéu did not rest on his laurels after the inauguration of the Nuevo Chamartín Stadium. New ideas continued to sprout out, on ways to improve it and adapt it to the club’s growing fan base. In this second construction phase, which began in 1952, the main goal was to increase capacity to 125,000 fans, and equip the installations with the most modern amenities possible.
This new capacity was inaugurated in June of 1954. In 1955 the members with a right to vote unanimously decided to name the ground Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Over the years further work was undertaken to improve the installations. In 1957 it became the world’s best-lit stadium. In 1965 all of the club’s administration and management staff completed their move to the stadium, finally under the same roof, given that since the club’s creation they had been scattered around the city in many different premises.
World Cup 1982
Spain’s organisation of the 1982 World Cup forced the club to carry out a general refurbishment of the Bernabéu, the stadium having been designated to host one of the qualification stages, as well as the final. It was important to transmit a modern image to the millions of fans that would be watching, either directly or via television. Accordingly, almost the entire complex was refurbished.
The ground’s capacity was decreased to 98,776 fans, of which 67,000 were unseated. The power of the lighting system was increased, and new electronic scoreboards, made with the latest technology, were added. Of all the new features added to the Bernabéu, the most striking was the roof. A metal canopy was installed that covered 75% of the stands. Thanks to this a good number of seats were now protected from inclement weather.
2000 - Present
The Bernabéu, Elite Stadium
During the 1999-2000 season the club implemented a modernisation process called “21st Century Leading Project”. Numerous services were made available to members and fans: the Real Madrid Line (a telephone line for members and fans), ticket sales via the telephone (the first time in history), and a transferable and financed season-ticket.
The capacity of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was distributed by sectors, and the stadium’s signs were redone. The third amphitheatre facing Padre Damián street was remodelled, placing 9,380 seats. This was in addition to the 16,000 seats installed the previous season in different sections of the stadium. Capacity was reduced to 75,000 fans. Madrid’s great theatre was now an all-seat stadium.
Upon being elected president of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez implemented the ‘Stadium’s Infrastructure Master Plan’. It contemplated technically updating the installations and infrastructure, their commercial exploitation, and the setting up of new business activities. This has meant that it has become a ‘365-days a year stadium’. It has four restaurants, the ‘Tour of the Bernabéu’, and the world’s largest sports store.
The club changed the electronic scoreboards, the public address system, and the dressing rooms. The Padre Damián facade and roof were inaugurated. The stadium is the best heated in the world thanks to the 1,300 heaters that were installed. It is also the world’s first remotely managed football stadium. Through an Integrated Control Unit the entire Bernabéu is remotely managed. In 2007 UEFA included the Bernabéu in their list of Elite Stadiums. It is a sporting, social, commercial and business benchmark. An example of modernity, functionality and management.
2022 (Under Construction)
Nuevo Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
The Santiago Bernabéu will offer improved levels of satisfaction, with new access routes, new spaces and improved evacuation routes. In the stands and the inside of the stadium, fans will have access to the very latest services on offer at sporting and entertainment events to guarantee their comfort (technology, catering, security, etc).
The redeveloped stadium will offer a wrapped, unique and state-of-the-art image, an outer surface featuring strips of steel and lines of varying lengths that will allow images to be illuminated and projected. The stadium will also feature a fixed and a retractable roof over the playing surface to ensure that all seats are covered.
Security, comfort & accessibility
The improvements and the modernisation of the access and circulation routes and the evacuation systems thanks to the installation of new access gates, escalators and lifts will make the Santiago Bernabéu a modern and more accessible arena. Supporters will benefit from more comfortable access routes and circulation corridors that will enable swifter entry and exit and avoids large crowds in the build-up to games and at the full-time whistle.
The demolition of the shopping centre and the construction of the two new towers on the Paseo de la Castellana will allow for more access routes and access gates, new ramps, escalators and lifts. Spectator movement will be made more fluid and comfortable thanks to the installation of new escalators, such as those to be found on the side of the Castellana and Padre Damián that reach the stadium’s highest point.
A new stand will be built on the east side of the stadium with capacity for almost 3,000 fans. This stand will be used to rehouse fans from the other areas of the stadium, in which the access routes will be made more comfortable, whilst the existing capacity will be maintained.
The architectural barriers will be removed from all of the access routes, both on the inside of the stadium and around it, and 800 new seats will be installed to ensure that those with different capacities can enjoy the stadium without any limitations.
Thanks to the new fixed and retractable roof, which can be removed in 15 minutes, all of the seats will be covered from the rain, meaning that all of the club members and spectators will benefit from this new feature, which will also improve the levels of climatic comfort.
The installation of the new roof on the Santiago Bernabéu will result in a unique atmosphere for club members and all spectators in general. The sound, the verticality and the height of the stadium will make attending a match a unique experience within world football for club members and supporters alike.
New spaces, more revenue streams
The relocation of the club’s offices to the new building at Real Madrid City will allow us to introduce new entertainment and leisure activities in the spaces left behind on the overhang of the side of the Castellana and the new structure on calle Padre Damián.
We will enhance the commercial offering to increase revenue streams. We will be opening two Real Madrid stores that will offer a whole range of branded products. We will offer digital sales points to sell products made by the leading electrical and consumption brands to turn the public spaces into an essential shop window for the latest world releases in cutting-edge technology.
The new Bernabéu will also offer unique hall spaces with convention rooms for events, congresses and large meetings and will cater for both corporate events and third-party gatherings. It will be a space that is available 365 days a year
A fascinating digital experience
Club members and the rest of the stadium spectators will enjoy a truly digital experience from their vantage point, which will feature new seats, and throughout all areas of the stadium.
The Tour Bernabéu will undergo a massive extension in the Castellana area and feature a far larger area, whilst a new interactive museum will be opened featuring the latest in virtual reality technology in the Padre Damián area. Meanwhile, the Tour Bernabéu experience will also be expanded, with the launch of a panoramic tour around the whole perimeter of the stadium’s outer wall and a new leisure and catering offering to include a wide range of restaurants and gastronomic experiences.
The stadium’s technological architecture will be completely renovated to bring the full range of digital services to the sporting event and the associated activities and offer the latest technological innovations in communications, lighting and stadium security. The stadium will also boast an indoor space for e-sports and an amazing 360-degree video scoreboard will be installed, whilst LED panels will wrap around the first and second tiers.
Operationality & logistics
In an effort to improve the operationality and logistics of the Santiago Bernabéu, a car park is being built, along with a logistic zone.
The new underground car park will be able to house up to five mobile TV broadcasting units, which currently park in the Castellana area two hours prior to games. This causes disruption in the area and this will become a thing of the past. In addition, the team coaches will have direct access to the new car park.
The car park, which will feature 450 spaces, will also be the access route for the large lorries that transport goods for the events held in the new Bernabéu (concerts, fairs, sporting events etc.,). These vehicles will be able to access the pitch via a new link tunnel that will end in the new folding stand with an arch measuring over five metres high.
Access to the car park will be via two points, the first of which is via the Plaza de los Sagrados Corazones, whilst the second is via Concha Espina. The first access route is for both large-, medium- and small-sized vehicles and will also be used by the TV broadcasting mobile units and the lorries that are heading for the loading and unloading dock. The access route via Concha Espina will be exclusively for the entry of cars and ambulances to gain access to the stadium car park.
The new car park will offer access to the logistics tunnel, which is being built around the outside of the stadium. The tunnel will feature vertical communications to ensure that all areas of the stadium are suitably supplied. The tunnel will ensure easier and more direct access to supplies for the stadium's bars, restaurants, VIP areas, toilets, services and first aid points. The goods will come through the tunnel and reach the new car park, before being distributing them efficiently throughout the rest of the stadium. This system will avoid noise pollution and disturbances for the residents who live in the area surrounding the stadium.
In addition to the improvements in terms of energetic sustainability offered by the new roof and the wrapped outer surface, the stadium will promote energetic efficiency and environmentally friendly measures, with the use of materials with low toxicty levels, the application of systems to reduce water consumption, the use of renewable energy and energy saving measures, as well as systems to control the lighting and air conditioning systems, etc.
The current lighting systems in the inside areas will be replaced and consumption levels will be reduced through the use of new technology to improve the security and visual comfort and avoid light pollution in the areas around the stadium.
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