World Cup 2018 Stadiums (photo & video)…
(1) LUZHNIKI STADIUM – MOSCOW
Estimated cost: €400M
Seating capacity: 81,000
History: Luzhniki officially opened on July 31, 1956, intended for use as the Soviet Union’s central stadium. In 57 years, the facility has undergone two major renovations – prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics and in 1996-1997, when a roof was added to comply with UEFA standards. The stadium has hosted the Summer Olympics, UEFA Cup and Champions League finals, and numerous Russian national team matches. It has also served as the home pitch for Spartak, CSKA, Torpedo, Rubin and Anzhi over the years.
Current Status: The stadium is currently undergoing a capital renovation, which began last fall. As you can see in the picture below, the guts of the arena are being pulled out, in order to bring the stands closer to the pitch and install 100 luxury sky boxes around the perimeter of the stadium. Traditionalists needn’t worry, however, about the stadium’s historic facade. It will be fully preserved, with just some cosmetic touch-ups.
The project will cost a minimum of €400M and is projected to be completed by May 2017.
Luzhniki Stadium on the banks of the Moscow River.
Stadium renovations are in full swing.
(2) OTKRITIE ARENA – MOSCOW
Estimated cost: €359M
Seating capacity: 42,000
History: The ceremonial cornerstone was laid on June 2, 2007, but construction at the site did not begin until 2010. Otkritie Arena is located on the northwest side of Moscow, about 25 minutes from downtown via the metro. It’s a dream come true for thousands of Spartak fans who have never had a stadium to call their own despite a storied history in both Soviet and Russian football.
The first match at the stadium was played on September 5 vs. Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda, brother club to Spartak’s biggest support group, Fratria. Otkritie Arena also hosted Russia’s Euro 2016 qualifier vs. Moldova in October.
Spartak vs. Crvena Zvezda.
(3) ZENIT ARENA – ST. PETERSBURG
Estimated cost: €709M
Seating capacity: 68,000
History: Construction began in 2007, on the site of St. Petersburg’s historic Kirov Stadium, the largest in the Soviet Union. The initial design for the stadium has been adjusted several times, to account for increased seating capacity and a retractable roof. The cost has also risen, from an initial €160M to the current €709M price tag.
Current Status: Construction continues to plod along, with FIFA giving the thumbs-up in an inspection on October 16 (see video below). The latest date given for the stadium’s completion is May 2016.
Zenit Arena will host one of the 2018 World Cup semifinals.
(4) OLYMPIC STADIUM – SOCHI
Estimated cost: €477M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (capacity will be reduced to 25,000 after the World Cup)
History: Construction began in 2007. The stadium was used to host the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. At present, Sochi does not have a viable professional football club, throwing into doubt the stadium’s practicality outside of the Olympics and World Cup, but many expect that a competitive team will be established in the city ahead of the World Cup.
Current Status: Construction was completed just in time for the Winter Olympics. The stadium, however, will undergo a major renovation prior to the World Cup, with changes to both the exterior and the interior. The final stadium plan is expected to be approved at the end of 2014.
During the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies.
(5) KAZAN ARENA – KAZAN
Estimated cost: €292M
Seating capacity: 45,105
History: Construction began on May 5, 2010, with the stadium intended to help Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid, as well as host the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2013 Kazan Summer Universiade. After three-plus years of construction, Kazan Arena opened the 2013 Summer Universiade on July 6.
The first football match at the stadium was played on August 17, with Rubin Kazan hosting Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League. Rubin will play at the stadium until May 2015, when it closes to prepare for the World Aquatics Championships in summer 2015. The club should be able to move back in permanently next fall.
Rubin vs. Lokomotiv, August 2014.
(6) KONIGSBURG ARENA – KALININGRAD
Estimated cost: €228M
Seating capacity: 35,000 (25,000)
Current Status: The construction site has still not been approved, though the stadium is expected to be built on Kaliningrad’s Oktyabrsky Island. Following the World Cup, the upper tier of the arena will be removed. Konigsburg Arena will serve as the home stadium for Baltika Kaliningrad, which currently competes in the 2nd tier of Russian football. It will also feature a retractable roof to accommodate weather conditions in Kaliningrad.
The exterior facade will be illuminated and able to change colors.
Inside Konigsberg Arena.
(7) TSENTRALNY STADIUM – EKATERINBURG
Estimated cost: €386M
Seating capacity: 35,000
History: The original stadium was built in 1957. It served as the home arena for legendary ball hockey club SKA-Sverdlovsk and FC Uralmash, as Premier League side FC Ural was known from 1960-2002. In September 2003, Tsentralny closed for a €60M renovation project, finally reopening in August 2011, once again able to host FC Ural. The stadium can currently hold 27,000 spectators.
Current Status: For the World Cup, the stadium seating capacity must be expanded to 35,000. The most recent design calls for preserving the historic facade, but otherwise redoing much of the stadium design. The facility would not be changed in any way following the World Cup.
Tsentralny Stadium today.
(8) SAMARENA – SAMARA
Estimated cost: €266M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (35,000)
Current Status: Construction began on July 21 and should be completed in 2017. The stadium will host current second-division squad Krylia Sovetov, one of Russia’s best-supported clubs.
SamArena, future home of Krylia Sovetov.
(9) LEVBERDON ARENA – ROSTOV
Estimated cost: €292M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (30-35,000)
Current Status: Levberdon means “left bank of the Don”, which, naturally, is where the stadium will be located. Initial analysis of the stadium territory began last summer.
The stadium is scheduled to be completed in late 2017 with the project design expected to be officially approved at the end of October. Construction may even begin this November. The stadium will also be home to Premier League club FC Rostov.
On the banks of the Don River.
Construction site from across the river.
(10) VOLGA ARENA – NIZHNY NOVGOROD
Estimated cost: €360M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (?)
Current Status: The stadium is still in the design stage, with the city currently in the process of procuring rights to the stadium territory. Some preparation work has been done, but construction on the site likely won’t start until 2015. Volga Arena’s location, at the meeting point of the Volga and Oka Rivers, promises to be one of the tournament’s most picturesque.
Volga Nizhny Novgorod will host matches at Volga Arena following the World Cup.
(11) SARANOSH STADIUM – SARANSK
Estimated cost: €337M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (30,000)
Current Status: Construction began in 2010, with the stadium scheduled to open in 2012 as a 30,000-seater. After inclusion in the list of World Cup host cities, however, Saransk had to ensure the stadium could accommodate 45,000 spectators and construction stalled. Construction is expected to begin sometime later this fall.
In addition to the World Cup, the stadium will host Mordovia Saransk, currently playing in Russia’s second tier of professional football.
Construction thus far at the site of Saranosh Stadium.
(12) POBEDA STADIUM – VOLGOGRAD
Estimated cost: €328M
Seating capacity: 45,000 (35,000)
Current Status: The stadium design has been approved. Pobeda Stadium (which means “Victory Stadium”) will be located on the site of Volgograd’s Tsentralny Stadium, which is now being demolished, with construction work to follow. After the World Cup, the seating capacity will be reduced to 35,000.
Volgograd’s Tsentralny Stadium, home to FC Rotor.
Pobeda Stadium (Victory Stadium) refers to Volgograd’s (Stalingrad’s) heroic stand in WWII.