THE HISTORY OF FRIENDS ARENA
In the early 2000s concerns were being raised about Råsunda stadium, Sweden’s beloved national stadium in Solna. Opened in 1937, the stadium was showing its age and did not meet international safety and capacity standards. Initial plans focused on expanding and developing Råsunda, but this proved to be too expensive. A new plan took shape – to build a new arena on unused land in Råsta, close to Solna train station. Following discussions with Solna municipality, the concept expanded to include a whole new district to be named Arenastaden, with a hotel, shopping centre, residential areas and offices.
In 2007 Swedish bank, Swedbank, was the main name sponsor and the Arena was named Swedbank Arena. In March 2012 the name was changed to Friends Arena when the bank donated the name to Swedish anti-bullying organization, Friends, to promote its efforts to create a socially sustainable society with an emphasis on young people.
Construction of Friends Area started in May 2009 at a ground-breaking ceremony attended by Crown Princess Victoria. The vision of architects Krook & Tjäder, Berg Arkitektkontor and British firm Populous for a new national arena was about to be realized.
On October 27th 2012, Friends Arena took over the title of Sweden’s national arena from Råsunda. On the same evening Friends Arena opened to pomp and fanfare and in the presence of the Swedish royal couple, the Swedish Prime Minister and 50,000 cheering fans. The show was broadcast live on SVT, the public broadcaster in Sweden, and was watched by some 1.7 million people.
INAUGURATION OF FRIENDS ARENA
See highlights from the inauguration
THE ARENA OF GREAT MOMENTS
Swedish men’s national football team win inaugural match against England in a stunning 4-2 victory, topped only by Zlatan’s unforgettable overhead kick goal and an attendance record of 49 967.
Swedish House Mafia play their first and last concerts in Sweden at Friends Arena in November 2012 and were cheered by 100 000 fans at three concerts.
In 2015 AIK football club set Swedish league match attendance record of 43 713 against IFK Göteborg.
A World Cup qualification game between Sweden and France sees Swedish player Ola Toivonen score from the halfway line in the 93rd minute to win the match 2-1.
In 2017 46,961 football fans, of which 83% were international visitors, watched the UEFA Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United. The match was watched by 180 million viewers on TV and it was broadcast in more than 100 countries. 120,000 fans from 122 countries applied for tickets to the final.
In July 2018, 57,520 Slim Shady fans came to see Eminem´s concert at Friends Arena, meaning Bruce Springsteen´s attendance record from 2013 (56,840) was relegated to second place.