Major League Soccer franchise FC Cincinnati has unveiled the impressive new design for its West End Stadium, which is due to open in March 2021.
The stadium has been designed by leading architecture firm Populous and will cost $250m (£201m/€223m) to construct. It will have a capacity of between 26,000 and 26,500, pending a final seating manifest.
A central field tunnel, placing fans inches from the teams as they walk out on to the pitch, will be one of the highlights of the stadium’s interior. A total of 59 suites will be fitted throughout the stadium, including two party suites and three field-level suites, which FC Cincinnati said marks the most for an MLS venue that does not also host an NFL team.
A safe-standing area that will house 3,100 fans will also be situated in The Bailey, a designated supporters’ section that encompasses almost the entire north end of the ground. The section will also have seats, allowing US national team matches to be held at the venue.
Two video boards and two LED ribbon scoreboards will also feature, wrapping the mezzanine’s façade around the stadium. The closest seat in the stadium will be just 15 feet from the playing field.
West End Stadium will feature a 360-degree canopy roof covering every seat in the ground, while a total of 513 vertical fins will make up a wave-like external structure that encloses the venue. Each of these fins will be fitted with custom LED lighting, creating a glow effect during evening events.
FC Cincinnati also claimed a “one-of-a-kind” lighting feature that will use the fins to create unique motion sequences that will be displayed on the stadium’s east-facing façade. The opposite façade will feature a traditional, glass aesthetic.
FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding said: “We incorporated a lot of research and first-person feedback from fans and executives around the league with the goal of setting a new standard for both design and experience. We firmly believe we’ve not only matched the league’s best but pushed the bar further and will deliver a superior fan experience for our incredible fan base.
“A strong reason why we’re in this position as a first-year MLS team just four years after our founding is because of the amazing, visible pride and exuberance of our fan base. West End Stadium was designed to showcase and harness that passion and create an extraordinary atmosphere and home-field advantage for our team. We cannot wait to start playing in West End Stadium in 2021.”
Populous replaced Meis as FC Cincinnati’s architectural partner for the project back in April. One of the key changes from the initial plan is the adoption of a full-bowl design instead of an open-ended structure.
The ‘West End Stadium’ moniker is likely to change before the ground opens once a naming-rights partner is signed.
FC Cincinnati debuted in MLS earlier this year and is playing at Nippert Stadium while the new ground is being built.