River Plate’s Mâs Monumental stadium has officially become South America’s biggest arena after the expanded venue was opened in full to more than 83,000 fans for Sunday’s game against Argentinos Juniors.
The Buenos Aires stadium’s new lower sections were opened for the first time after the completion of a project that saw the removal of the athletics track and the pitch lowered to accommodate more seating.
A sell-out crowd of 83,198 attended the Primera División game on Sunday, although the stadium will have a final capacity for 84,567 spectators once the work is fully completed. Mâs Monumental’s capacity had been around 61,000 since 2013 before the launch of the redevelopment project two years ago.
River coach Martin Demichelis said: “It is a very special day. It is a blessing that the club continues to grow in infrastructure, the stadium is turning out wonderful.”
The first stage of redevelopment was completed during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the more ambitious second phase approved a year ago. River appointed Spanish consulting, engineering and architecture company IDOM as project manager of the venture.
The project included the lowering of the playing field, removal of the athletics track and addition of a further 9,000 seats. Another important element of the work consisted of the construction of a single exit tunnel from the changing rooms, centred on the San Martín grandstand and with internal views from the stand.
The stadium’s record crowd was the estimated 100,000 that saw River secure the title against Racing in 1975 despite the capacity being around 80,000 at the time.
Mâs Monumental has now surpassed Estadio Monumental in Lima, Peru (80,093) and the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (78,838) as the largest stadium in South America.