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Full name Veltins-Arena
Former names Arena AufSchalke
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Gelsenkirchen (2006 FIFA World Cup)
Location Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Owner Schalke 04
Operator Schalke 04
Executive suites 90
Capacity 62,271 (League Matches),
54,740 (International Matches)[1]
Record attendance Ice hockey: 77,803
7 May 2010
2010 IIHF World Championship Opening Game
Field size 105 × 68 m
Built 1998–2001
Opened 2001
Construction cost 191 million
Architect Hentrich, Petschnigg und Partner[2]
Schalke 04
Interior view
Veltins-Arena during a Pur concert.
The player's tunnel.

Veltins-Arena (German pronunciation: ; originally Arena AufSchalke ) is a football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened in 2001, as the new home ground for German Bundesliga club Schalke 04.

It hosted the 2004 UEFA Champions League final and 5 matches in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, including a quarter-final. It has a league capacity of 62,271 (standing and seated) and an international capacity of 54,740 (seated only).[3] The stadium has a retractable roof and a retractable pitch. The naming rights to the stadium were sold on 1 July 2005 to the German brewery Veltins.


  • History 1
  • Site and layout 2
  • Roof and pitch 3
  • Catering and venues 4
  • Other events 5
    • 2006 FIFA World Cup 5.1
    • 2007 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany 5.2
    • 2008 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany 5.3
    • 2010 Ice Hockey World Championship 5.4
    • Concerts 5.5
  • Inspiration of other stadiums 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Plans to construct a new stadium emerged in the late 1990s, as fans and managers sought to move out of the outdated Parkstadion, and create a thoroughly modern multifunctional arena. Following Schalke 04's historic 1997 victory in the UEFA Cup, and the club's upcoming 100th anniversary in 2004, the contract to construct a €186 million stadium was given in 1998 to the German construction firm HBM.

Site and layout

The site chosen for Schalke 04's new stadium is in the direct vicinity of the old Parkstadion, on an extensive piece of club owned property known as the "Berger Feld". Unfortunately, two mine shafts of the "Consolidation" and "Hugo" coal-mines run directly beneath this field at a depth of 800 m. These shafts (in use until 2000) would have caused unwanted shifts and tensions that could have compromised the structural integrity of the stadium. To avoid this, the main axis was rotated from the classic North-South arrangement to a Northeast-Southwest alignment, making the arena parallel to the mines.

The Veltins-Arena was created as a multi-functional arena of two tiers that completely surround the playing field. These allow for a league capacity of 62,271 spectators (standing and seated) and an international capacity of 54,740. For league matches, the North stand is left as standing rows (capacity: 16,307) to accommodate the Schalke 04 fans, while for international matches, these are converted to seats (capacity: 8,600). The 72 VIP lounges form a ring around the entire stadium, separating the first tier from the second tier. On the main Western grandstand, the VIP capacity is increased by a second level of lounges directly beneath the main belt.

The foundation for the stadium was created out of cast concrete and 600,000 m3 of packed slag, a waste product from the steel smelting industry. These were packed into mounds to support the four main stands, which were made out of pre-fabricated, reinforced concrete sections. Leading into the four corners of the arena are 4.50 m x 4.50 m tunnels, which serve both as access for construction and assembly, and as ventilation for the interior.

Roof and pitch

The Veltins-Arena features a Teflon-coated fiberglass canvas retractable roof, which spans the entire stadium. The roof is supported by a rectangular truss that is suspended above the field, which is in turn connected to the main building via 24 steel pylons. The center of the roof can be opened into two halves, allowing for an opened or covered stadium, depending on weather and event. In order to reduce the exterior noise of up to 105 decibels during concerts, a second layer of Teflon-coated fiberglass canvas was added over the first, creating a dampening air cushion. Hanging 25 m over the center of the pitch are four video screens, each with a surface area of 35 m2. The centrally suspended scoreboard, similar to those found inside indoor sports arenas, was the first of its kind in football stadia, and has since been copied in the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt and the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf.

An outsideview of the slide out pitch, underneath the southern wing

Like the Sapporo Dome in Japan, the University of Phoenix Stadium in the U.S. state of Arizona and the Gelredome in the Netherlands, the Veltins-Arena features a slide out pitch. Supported by 11,400 t substructure, the playing field can be moved in and out of the stadium within 4 hours. This has several advantages:

  • The grass playing surface can grow under normal outside conditions without suffering from a lack of circulation and light as in other arenas.
  • The football pitch is not damaged during indoor events such as concerts.
  • The floor of the multi-functional hall can be converted and retro-fitted within a short amount of time.
  • The outside area that is not occupied by the field can be used as parking facilities for buses during football matches.

Catering and venues

In order to provide for over 60,000 spectators, the Veltins-Arena is equipped with an abundance of catering facilities. With 15 small restaurants, 50 grilling stations and 35 cafés, the stadium can serve up to 2,500 kg of sausages, 7,000 pretzels, and 1,000 m2 of pizza in one day. These catering areas are connected to a 5 km long beer-line, supplying them with roughly 52,000 litres of beer per match day.

Other events

The Veltins-Arena has hosted an array of important events, including the UEFA Champions League final of 2004. During the renovation of Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf, the Arena served as the temporary home of the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, an American football league. World Bowl XII was hosted by the stadium. The versatility of the stadium was put to the test in May 2004 when the Veltins-Arena hosted a pop concert, a Bundesliga match and an NFL Europe game all within 96 hours. Other events have included biathlons, stock car races and operas. In June 2009, it was the scene of a world heavyweight championship boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Ruslan Chagaev, which drew an audience of 60,000.[4]

2006 FIFA World Cup

The stadium was one of the venues for the 2006 World Cup. However, because FIFA controls all sponsorship associated with its tournaments (including that of competition venues), the arena was called FIFA World Cup Stadium Gelsenkirchen (German: FIFA WM-Stadion Gelsenkirchen ) during the World Cup.

The following games were played at the stadium during the 2006 World Cup:

Date Time (CET) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
9 June 2006 21:00 Poland 0–2 Ecuador Group A 52,000
12 June 2006 18:00 United States 0–3 Czech Republic Group E 52,000
16 June 2006 15:00 Argentina 6–0 Serbia and Montenegro Group C 52,000
21 June 2006 16:00 Portugal 2–1 Mexico Group D 52,000
1 July 2006 17:00 England 0–0 (1–3 PEN) Portugal Quarter-finals 52,000

2007 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany

Andreas Jonsson - 2007 German SGP Winner.

The Veltins-Arena hosted the final Grand Prix of the 2007 motorcycle speedway World Championship season on 13 October 2007, the 2007 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany, the 100th Grand Prix in the history of the competition. It was billed as "The richest minute in motorsport". The winner of the event won US $100,000 by virtue of winning the final heat of the event, with each heat taking about one minute to complete. 25,000 fans saw the Grand Prix won by Swedish rider Andreas Jonsson, who beat American Greg Hancock, and Australians, Jason Crump and Leigh Adams in the final. World Champion, Nicki Pedersen who went out of the competition at the Semi-Final stage was crowned World Champion.

The temporary speedway track at the Veltins-Arena was 300 metres (330 yards) in length. Andreas Jonsson and Greg Hancock jointly hold the 4 lap record having set a time of 56.9 seconds in heats 21 and 23 respectively.

2008 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany

The Veltins-Arena was supposed to host the 2008 Speedway Grand Prix of Germany. It was scheduled to take place on 11 October 2008. However, the meeting was cancelled because the track (temporary) was deemed unsafe by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) jury due to adverse weather conditions (even though the retractable roof was closed for the duration of laying the track). The event was re-staged at the Polonia Stadium, Bydgoszcz, Poland, on 18 October and was renamed the 2008 FIM Final Speedway Grand Prix.[5][6]

2010 Ice Hockey World Championship

The opening game of the 74th IIHF World Championship took place at Veltins-Arena on 7 May 2010. At this occasion the crowd of 77,803 set a then World Record for ice hockey attendance. Germany beat the United States 1-2 in overtime.


The arena is frequently used as a venue to host concerts. In August 2012, the arena hosted the first Rock im Pott festival, with Placebo, The BossHoss and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining. Other artists that performed at the venue include Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, Metallica, AC/DC, U2 and German artists Pur and Herbert Grönemeyer.

Inspiration of other stadiums

Highly acclaimed, the Veltins-Arena served as a model for the University of Phoenix Stadium. This stadium shares features with its German counterpart such as a retractable roof and a slide-out pitch. Veltins-Arena has also been a source of inspiration for Friends Arena. The arena also has ties to Lucas Oil Stadium. In that stadium, the retractable-roof also opens lengthwise from the center to the touchlines.

An interior design panorama of the S04 Stadium Veltins-Arena

See also


  1. ^ "Schalke erhöht Stadionkapazität". (in German). Kicker. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  2. ^ 
  3. ^ "Schalke erhöht Stadionkapazität". (in German). Kicker. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Vester, Mark (2009-06-20). "Klitschko Dominates, Batters Chagaev For The Stoppage". BoxingScene. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
  5. ^ "BSI/FIM Statement". Benfield Sports International. 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008. 
  6. ^ "2008 FIM FINAL SGP TICKETS NOW ON SALE!". Benfield Sports International. Retrieved 14 October 2008. 

Further reading

  • Gernot Stick, Stadien 2006, Basel: Birkhäuser 2005
  • Stahlbau Spezial: Arenen im 21. Jahrhundert, Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, Ausg. Januar 2005

External links

  • Official site (German)

Preceded by
Old Trafford
UEFA Champions League
Final Venue

Succeeded by
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