It’s only 14 days until the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off with the first whistle blown in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. But before that, Mexico’s national team will play one last friendly against Scotland in the famous Estadio Azteca. The stadium is prolific, not only for popularizing “the Mexican wave” at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, but also for making Mexico the only Latin American country to have hosted two World Cups, in 1970 and 1986. In fact, apart from France and Germany, Mexico is only the third country in the world to have done so, in spite of the 1985 earthquake that devastated Mexico City. Estadio Azteca is the only stadium to have hosted two FIFA World Cup finals, ever.
Here are some facts about the stadium to gear you up for the big game:
When was it Constructed?
Among the thousands of buildings in Mexico City, Estadio Azteca sticks out from the crowd. Also known as the Coloso de Santa Ursula, it began construction in 1961 and was completed in May 1966. The stadium saw its first goal on May 29, 1966 during a friendly between Club America and Torino FC with a kickoff from Gustavo Diaz , the Mexican President at the time.
Who Built it?
Ingenieros Civiles Asociados (ICA), the construction company responsible for building most of Mexico’s largest infrastructure projects, took on the challenge of building this massive stadium. It was constructed on an ancient ejido in Santa Ursula where 180,000 tons of rock had to be removed from a surface of 63,590m2.
For the field, ICA had to excavate more than 9m using explosives and removed over 40,000 tons of volcanic rock. The teams could not excavate more than 10m due to the muddy subsoil beneath. According to Expansion, over 20,000m3 of concrete and 3,300 tons of reinforced steel were used to build the stadium. Obras says that it took more than 8,000 tons of corrugated iron bars and 1,200 tons of laminated steel were used to in the stadium roof. According to Excelsior, it took more than 7 million man hours, 800 operators, 34 engineers, 15 technicians and 10 architects to get the job done.
Who Designed it?
It was designed by famous Mexican architect, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. Ring a Bell? He is also responsible for the Basilica de Guadalupe, the National Museum of History and Anthropology, the Televisa Logo, Torre de Tlatelolco, The Modern Art Museum, the School of Medicine in UNAM, and the Mercados of Lagunilla, Tepito and Coyoacan to name a few.
How Many People Does It Hold?
It has the capacity to seat more than 105,000 screaming fans but there have been more than 110,000 spectators accounted for in some events. On top of that, it’s got one of the largest fields in the world measuring 105x68m. The Coloso de Santa Urusla measures 60m from top to bottom.
Who Owns Estadio Azteca?
No other than Grupo Televisa. Emilio Azcarraga Milmo the owner of Televisa decided to construct the stadium with the 1970 World Cup in sight. The estimated price tag of the stadium is of MX$260 million.
Whose Home Turf?
Estadio Azteca has been the home of Club America and the official national stadium for the Mexico team. As well as Cruz Azul, Necaxa and Atlante.
Doubles as a Concert Arena?
Yup. Not only has it hosted important sporting events. But Michael Jackson, Sir Paul McCarthy, Sir Elton John, Madonna and many others have given massive concerts in the stadium.
Watch History Channel’s Super Construcciones Documentary on Estadio Azteca to learn more.
Sources: Obras, Excelsior, Estadio Azteca Website