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Real Sociedad returns to revamped stadium

Spanish LaLiga football club Real Sociedad christened its renovated Reale Arena stadium on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Atlético Madrid.

The stadium’s capacity has increased from 32,000 to 40,000 and the club was forced to play the first three matches of the LaLiga season away from home as renovation work was completed.

Real Sociedad moved into the Reale Arena, which was previously known as the Anoeta, in 1993. The stadium used to have a running track around the pitch but this has now been removed, allowing fans to be closer to the action. The club has sold 32,000 season tickets for the 2019-20 campaign.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, Real Sociedad president Jokin Apperibay said: “It’s difficult to grow as a club and compete in Europe when you have a running track and fans are 42 metres away from the action, it’s very difficult for them to express their passion.

“We train our players from the youth academy that they must deserve to win and I think this stadium will help us reinforce that message.”

Real Sociedad agreed a six-year deal last month for Italian insurance company Reale Seguros to acquire naming rights to the stadium. The company has held a commercial partnership with Real Sociedad since 2012 and last month it became the first insurance firm to acquire naming rights for a Spanish football venue.

Saturday’s match against Atlético attracted a crowd of 34,719 and second-half goals from Martin Ødegaard and Nacho Monreal ensured it was a winning return home for the Basque club.

Image: Real Sociedad