Turkish Super League side, Beşiktaş JK, has warmly welcomed fans to its brand new ‘smart stadium’, the 42,000-seat Vodafone Arena, this week.
Opening its doors to the public on 3 November 1947, the İnönü Stadium, which has now been replaced by the Vodafone Arena, had been a symbol of Beşiktaş JK’s glorious years and a home to numerous Club legends, such as Süleyman Seba, Hakkı Yeten (Baba Hakkı), Sanlı Sarıalioğlu, Rasim Kara and Rıza Çalımbay, as well as the unforgettable scoring trio of Metin-Ali-Feyyaz.
At the end of the 2012/13 season, Beşiktaş JK Management, led by the Chairman, Fikret Orman, tore down the Inönü Stadium all apart from the Eski Açık stand, as the stand and its towers are considered historical monuments by the government, so it has been re-arranged to resemble the look of an antique amphitheatre. Once demolished, construction began on the €110m (GBP£88.2m/US$125.2m) Vodafone Arena, all financed by the Club.
After 1,065 days, Turkey’s one and only smart stadium was completed and will hold its first game tonight, 11 April 2016, with Beşiktaş hosting Bursaspor in a Turkish Football Federation (TFF) First League action match.
The official inauguration of the Black Eagle’s new shrine took place yesterday, 10 April 2016, and was attended by the President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, as well as Turkish State representatives, politicians, Beşiktaş JK Chairman, Fikret Orman, and members of the Beşiktaş JK Council and Executive Board.
To help the fans experience a day to remember, Vodafone has equipped the new stadium with rich-content digital displays – which are commonly found in many modern stadiums – along with broadband, mobile and wireless networks. Different sized interactive HD screens, which have been installed all over the stadium, are going to broadcast fan interviews, on-going promotions, game statistics and live scores from other matches on a non-stop basis. The WiFi service will ensure that smart phones can access the latest game information easily and without delay. The ‘smart stadium’ features StadiumVision and high-speed WiFi technology, planned in conjunction with Cisco.
Vodafone Arena houses 144 executive suites, and one “1903 Lounge”, which can entertain 1,903 spectators in total. The “1903 Stand” has a capacity of 636 spectators. The new stadium also has 2,123m2 of restaurants, 2,520m2 of terrace restaurants and VIP parking for up to 600 vehicles.
The new stadium is “in harmony with the natural and historic landscape of the Bosphorus” when seen from the sea.
In addition to being home to Beşiktaş, the 42,000-seater, multi-purpose Vodafone Arena is designed to function as an entertainment and fashion centre. Throughout the year, it will host numerous concerts and fashion shows by famous artists and designers. In the meantime, the high-class restaurants, Beşiktaş JK Museum, Beşiktaş Shop and Vodafone Mobile Centre, all located inside the stadium, will offer top-quality service to their visitors and customers at all times. In short, Beşiktaş JK’s new Vodafone Arena is going to be a hub of city activity not only during match days but on everyday of the year.
Turkish firm DBArchitects designed the Vodafone Arena alongside local architect Metin Demir.