The Veltins-Arena is a football stadium in the German city of Gelsenkirchen. Originally named the Arena AufSchalke, it opened in 2001 as the new home ground for 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 61,482 (standing and seated) and an international capacity of 53,951 (seated only). The naming rights to the stadium were sold on July 1, 2005 to the German brewery Veltins.
Plans to construct a new stadium emerged in the late 1990s, as fans and managers sought to move out of the outdated Parkstadion, and create a thoroughly modern multifunctional arena.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 61,524 spectators (standing and seated) and an international capacity of 53,994. 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 local coal mines. 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.