This evening (8.45 PM CET), Barça play the second game of the preseason against OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera, which holds 35,624 spectators and was first used less than a year ago, on September 22, 2013, for a Ligue 1 fixture between Nice and Valenciennes. One of the venues for Euro 2016, it was also used occasionally last season by rugby union’s RC Toulon.
Plans to build a replacement for the old Stade du Ray had been under discussion for many years, but it was only when France was awarded the Euro 2016 Finals that those plans became a reality. And the result is an ultra-modern venue, the Allianz Riviera.
French company Wilmotte & Associés not only designed the stadium but also the surroundings, which include the National Museum of Sport and other facilities. Construction began in 2011, and the rounded forms, transparent structures and luminosity at night evoke visions of the Allianz Arena in Munich, which carries the name of the same sponsor.
The Allianz Riviera was also used for three games last season by the Cote d’Azur based rugby club RC Toulon as since-retired captain Jonny Wilkinson led them to the French Top 14 and European Heineken Cup double. It has also been used for tennis and motor sports and offers Wi-Fi and 4G connections.