Estadio Centenario major redecoration goals


Ignacio Alonso on Coliseum LATAM Image: Ignacio Alonso

Montevideo (Uruguay)-based the Uruguayan Football Association is the governing body of football in Uruguay. It was founded in 1900 as the Uruguayan Association Football League and got affiliated to FIFA in 1923.

The 60,235-capacity Estadio Centenario is a stadium in the Parque Batlle of Montevideo, Uruguay, used primarily for football. The stadium was built between 1929 and 1930 to host the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup™, as well as to commemorate the centenary of Uruguay’s first Constitution.

Ignacio Alonso tells ‘Coliseum’ in an exclusive how plans are being put in place to remodel the Estadio Centenario with the long-term goal of hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup™.

The FIFA World Cup™ is the biggest sporting extraordinaire on this planet with millions of football fans flocking to see it every four years and even more watching on television around the world. Any country would give its right arm to host this sporting spectacle because a lot of prestige is associated with hosting this tournament and it also gives a shot in the arm to the hosting nation’s tourism prospect.

The South American country Uruguay is keen to hold the World Cup in 2030 and is putting in efforts to convince FIFA.

Ignacio Alonso tells that the Uruguayan Football Association’s long-term goal is to refurbish the iconic venue – Estadio Centenario – and bring it up to the standards laid down by FIFA so that it can convince the highest governing body of association football to hold the showpiece in Uruguay in 2030.

Informed Alonso, “We will totally reconfigure the lighting system, upgrade the soccer field, renovate the dressing rooms, the VIP space, and media section. The media and VIP zone are important areas of the facility.”

The 2021 Copa Libertadores was played at the Estadio Centenario on November 27th. This was the 62nd edition of the Copa Libertadores, the top-tier South American continental club football tournament organized by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and was played between Brazilian sides Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo which the former won.

He added, “We will replace the entire lighting system of the venue with state-of-the-art ones. The last time we did it was in the year 2000 – 21 years back. Now, the lighting fixtures will be in keeping with the CONMEBOL standards. This is going to be a major upgrade.”

The Estadio Centenario has hosted rock bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and “several others who have performed here in the last five years”. Live music events by international artistes is a big hit here.

The stadium enables hosting of smaller capacity events from 18,000 to 50,000 which includes the bleacher areas and we “organize all kinds of shows and lighting improvisation have to be such that it adds more glitz to hold big-ticket events.”

Alonso added, “The pitch will be improvised too – artificial turf will be laid to keep the same in sync with modern-day soccer. There will be total overhaul of the seating configuration in the VIP box seat areas and the Press section. The dressing rooms will also be upgraded to bring it in line with CONMEBOL and FIFA standards.”

He added that repurposing work on the second dressing room – the visitors’ dressing room – is almost over.

Stadium location

The Estadio Centenario sits in a very prime location in the City of Montevideo – the capital of Uruguay. It is just five to 10 minutes drive from the coastline and the stadium is surrounded by a national park. Golf courses and all strategic areas of the City are at a shouting distance away from the stadium.

Revenue strategies

Alonso commented, “We want to earn maximum revenue and the stadium should just not be a soccer-specific one and the overhaul work will be done in such a manner that it boasts added attractions. It will be lent a chic look. Food courts will be set up for the foodies and a museum will also come up. People flock to Estadio Centenario and we want to make it more alluring and attractive.”

Only few games are played in the arena as he further put in, “During 2005, the stadium used to host 60 games in a year. Nowadays, we only have around 15 games in a year. To be able to boost business, we will have to hold concerts and earn more revenue from the planned museum. Since the stadium has an astonishing amount of space, it leaves enough room to set up hotels, conference rooms and co-working areas. We are also planning to set up offices for the different sports organizations of the country within the stadium precincts. This is our long-term goal and we want to implement the same by 2030.”

Alonso stated that they are looking for private investors who would pick up the tab of the mixed-use development. As the stadium sits in a huge area, he informed that a shopping mall is also being planned. However, while going about the remodeling work, it will be ensured that the pristine sheen of the stadium remains and the original architecture of the building are not tampered with like the Tower of Homage which commemorates the Uruguayan athletes that competed in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games.

Changes will also be made to the bleacher areas and the ultimate goal is to make the venue futuristic so that it can provide more grist for the revenue mill.

The Uruguayan Football Association is pulling out all stops to ensure that the Estadio Centenario gets to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup™. They hope to receive capital injection from private parties for the makeover work of the facility.

The stadium is partially owned by the federation and it sits on a land that is owned by the municipality. The stadium is open the whole year through.

Hallowed arena

The Estadio Centenario is one of the most revered sporting arenas in the world as it is here that the first FIFA World Cup™ was held in the year 1930 from July 13th to July 30th, 2022. The stadium also boasts sport historic soccer memorabilia and artefacts.

The passion of Uruguayan soccer is on full display in this stadium and one can marvel at the huge bowl-shaped arena from the arena’s open-air terrace. The stadium’s Museum of Football is a must-see for all soccer fans.

Ignacio Alonso and his team are making all out efforts to ensure the Estadio Centenario can host the 2030 FIFA World Cup™ as he wrapped up by stating, “In nine years from now we hope to make history again by hosting the World Cup and will make the stadium spiffy and sleek by then.”

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