Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium has hosted its first football match since undergoing a major renovation project, with a crowd of 50,000 attending the Chinese Super League game between Beijing Guoan and Meizhou Hakka.
Saturday marked the opening weekend of the CSL season and the first time that fans have been able to attend matches since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic more than three years ago.
Tickets for the match between Beijing Guoan and Meizhou Hakka are said to have sold out within a matter of minutes. An opening ceremony was held before kick-off to celebrate the new-look Workers’ Stadium, which has been rebuilt after being demolished in August 2020.
The stadium (pictured in its former state), known locally as Gongti, served as the main venue for the 1990 Asian Games and also hosted football matches during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It had initially been scheduled to reopen in December but this was pushed back.
The revamped venue has been designed to serve as a year-round destination capable of hosting sport and entertainment events. Ma Xisheng, an official from the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, announced in January that the two-year renovation project had been completed and the new-look venue has now officially opened its doors.
The new stadium’s capacity is 68,000 and it does not feature a running track, while a new underground plaza has been added for sports fans. Traffic congestion around the Workers’ Stadium is also set to be eased through a train station that will provide a direct connection to the venue.
Other features of the stadium include a new LED lighting system with giant screens in the north and south ends, and a cooling system that can be implemented during the height of summer.
The Workers’ Stadium was built in 1959 and served as one of the ‘Ten Great Buildings’ constructed in Beijing to coincide with the 10th anniversary of communist China.