Friends Arena

Last updated
Friends Arena
Friends Arena Logo2.png
Friends Arena (7751335978).jpg
Friends Arena
Former namesSwedbank Arena (2009–2012)
Location Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
Coordinates 59°22′21″N18°00′00″E / 59.37250°N 18.00000°E / 59.37250; 18.00000 Coordinates: 59°22′21″N18°00′00″E / 59.37250°N 18.00000°E / 59.37250; 18.00000
Owner Swedish Football Association, Folksam, Solna Municipality, Jernhusen, Peab, Fabege [1]
Executive suites92
  • 54,329 (national capacity) [2]
  • 50,653 (international all-seated capacity) (football)
  • 35,000 (scaled-down) (football)


Record attendance
Broke ground7 December 2009 [7]
Opened25 October 2012 [4]
Construction cost2.8 billion SEK
( 300 million)
Architect Arkitekterna Krook & Tjäder, Berg Arkitektkontor, Populous [8]
Main contractors Peab
Sweden national football team (2012–present)
AIK Fotboll (2013–present)
Melodifestivalen Finalen (2013–2020)

Friends Arena, more commonly known as Nationalarenan, is a retractable roof multi-purpose stadium in Stockholm,Sweden. Located next to the lake Råstasjön in Solna, just north of the City Centre, it is the biggest stadium in Scandinavia. Since its opening, the venue has served as Sweden's national stadium for men's football, hence the name Nationalarenan. The main tenants of the stadium are Sweden's men's national football team and Allsvenskan football club AIK; both relocated from their previous home at the Råsunda Stadium. The venue has a total capacity of 65,000 at concerts and 50,000 seated at football matches, but the stadium can be scaled down to provide for smaller events with approximately 20,000 guests.



Initially there were plans to build a new national stadium close to the indoor venue Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, but on 1 April 2006 the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) made the decision to build the new stadium in Solna. It was calculated to cost around 1.9 billion kronor (202 million euro) to complete. The estimated cost before construction had begun was 2.3 billion kronor. It replaced Råsunda Stadium, Sweden's former national arena for football. Råsunda was torn down and replaced by some 700 flats and office buildings, making it the first stadium that hosted a FIFA World Cup to ever have been torn down.

Swedbank acquired the naming rights to the stadium in a 153 million kronor (about 20.5 million euro) deal that will last until 2023. While the arena was originally to be known as Swedbank Arena, Swedbank announced in 2012 that it would donate its naming rights to Friends, a nonprofit organization against school bullying of which Swedbank is a sponsor. Consequently, the stadium was renamed Friends Arena.

Structure and facilities

The stadium has a retractable roof, enabling events to take place during the winter season and to host indoor entertainment shows. The facade of the arena can be lit up in 17 million different color schemes. For example, the stadium is lit up in blue and yellow when Sweden's national team is playing matches. Friends Arena is a UEFA Category 4 stadium, and the natural turf pitch measures 105 x 68 metres. In the middle of the stadium roof, a 240 square metres big media cube is placed where the attendance can follow what is happening. In addition, 647 LED-screens are installed throughout the facility to enhance the guest experience. [4]


Exterior Friends Arena.jpg

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden declared the arena inaugurated at the opening ceremony, which took place in the venue on 27 October 2012. The show, directed by famous Swedish director Colin Nutley, was entitled "Svenska ögonblick" (Swedish Moments). Artists like Agnes Carlsson, The Hives, Icona Pop, Loreen, First Aid Kit and Roxette performed in front of a crowd of 46,000 people. Furthermore, 1,700,000 TV viewers watched the inauguration show live at SVT1. [9]

Swedish House Mafia made three concerts during their One Last Tour in the arena. A total of approximately 115,000 people visited Friends Arena during the three sold-out concerts in November 2012.

On 14 November 2012, the stadium hosted its first football game. Zlatan Ibrahimović scored the first goal at Sweden's new national stadium in the 4–2 victory against England. The game was seen by 49,967 people, which until 2017 was the attendance record for a sport event. [10]

Sweden vs Republic of Ireland, 22 March 2013 Friends Arena March 2013.jpg
Sweden vs Republic of Ireland, 22 March 2013

A new record for Swedish bandy was set at the 2013 Swedish Bandy Championship Final, when Hammarby IF defeated Sandvikens AIK ahead of an audience of 38,474 persons under the closed roof. [11]

AIK played their first competitive football match on April 7, 2013. Visiting team Syrianska FC succeeded to get one point after a goalless game, but the better for AIK, they set a new club record attendance for a home game in Allsvenskan of 43,463.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played three sold-out concerts at Nationalarenan between 3–11 May 2013 on their Wrecking Ball Tour, breaking the venue's attendance records with over 55,000 attendees at each show. In thanking Swedish fans for their long time support and loyalty, Springsteen played full albums during the concerts: Born To Run on 3 May, Darkness on the Edge of Town on 4 May, and Born In The U.S.A. on 11 May.

Sandvikens AIK players pose before the 2013 Swedish men's national bandy championship final game. Sandvikens AIK Bandy.jpg
Sandvikens AIK players pose before the 2013 Swedish men's national bandy championship final game.

On 28 July 2013, the final of the UEFA Women's Euro were played. 41,301 people watched Germany overcome Norway with a score of 1–0. The game set a new attendance record for a Women's Euro fixture. Solna became also the first city in Europe which has hosted all four big football championships (FIFA World Cup, FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA European Championship and UEFA Women's Championship). The arena also hosts Motorcycle speedway as part of the Speedway Grand Prix World Championship series and has hosted the Speedway Grand Prix of Scandinavia since 2013. The temporary track at the arena is 275 metres (301 yards) in length.

The arena also hosted the final of Melodifestivalen from 2013 to 2020. The stadium was chosen as the venue for the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final in 2015.

Pearl Jam performed at the stadium on 28 June 2014. The show was the kickoff of the European leg of their Lightning Bolt Tour.

AC/DC performed at the venue on 19 July 2015 in front of a sold-out crowd of 53,000 people. On 26 July 2016, Beyoncé performed at the stadium to a sold-out crowd of 48,519 for her The Formation World Tour.

Depeche Mode performed at the stadium on 5 May 2017. The show was the opening night of the band's Global Spirit Tour in front of a sold-out crowd of 36,400 people. Ariana Grande performed here on 8 May 2017. The show was the kickoff of the European leg of her Dangerous Woman Tour.

Celine Dion will bring her Courage World Tour to the stadium on 13 June 2021. This will be her first performance at the venue. [12] [ better source needed ]

The stadium was the venue for the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final on 24 May 2017 between Ajax and Manchester United; United won the match 2–0. Guns N' Roses performed here on 29 June 2017 in a sold-out show to a crowd over 55,000 people, approximately 1,000 people less than Bruce Springsteen who holds the record.

On 5 December 2019, the Tim Bergling Foundation held the Avicii Tribute Concert for mental health awareness with acts such as David Guetta, Kygo, Aloe Blacc, and Rita Ora performing. The concert broke the attendance record of Friends Arena.

Points of interest

Interior Friends Arena from inside.jpg

The stadium is located a 700-metre (800 yards) walk from the Solna commuter train station, where the Tvärbanan tramway and local buses are also available (a slightly longer walk away). The 18th meridian east runs through Nationalarenan. [13]

The arena, located about six km (3,7 miles) from Stockholm Central Station, has parking for 300 charter buses and 4,000 cars. Along with the stadium, there will also be built a number of hotels with a total of approximately 400 rooms, restaurants for 8,000 guests, office areas for 10,000 employees, conference/exhibition centres and 2,000 flats. Moreover, a shopping mall, Mall of Scandinavia, with 240 shops and a multi screen cinema, opened near the stadium in 2015. The mall is the biggest shopping centre in Sweden.

Friends Arena before Sweden vs. Spain. 15th October 2019. FriendsArena SwedenSpain.jpg
Friends Arena before Sweden vs. Spain. 15th October 2019.

The total project was calculated to cost more than 4 billion SEK. [14]

Football average attendances

[ citation needed ]

Season Sweden national team AIK
GamesSeason AverageHighest GateLowest GateGamesSeason AverageHighest GateLowest Gate
vs England
vs England
vs Portugal
vs Norway
vs Syrianska FC
vs Östers IF
vs Russia
vs Estonia
vs IFK Göteborg
vs Falkenbergs FF
vs Denmark
vs Montenegro
vs IFK Göteborg
vs Falkenbergs FF
vs Wales
vs Czech Republic
vs Hammarby IF
vs BK Häcken
vs Luxemburg
vs Belarus
vs Djurgårdens IF
vs Halmstads BK

See also

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The 2009 season in Swedish football, starting January 2009 and ending December 2009:

The 2010 season in Swedish football, started January 2010 and ended December 2010:

The 2011 season in Swedish football, started in January 2011 and ended in December 2011.

The 2012 season in Swedish football, started in January 2012 and ended in December 2012.

The 2013 season was the 116th season of competitive football in Sweden. The competitive year started with the group stage of Svenska Cupen on 2 March. League competition started in early April with Allsvenskan on 31 March, Superettan on 6 April, Division 1 and lower men's leagues plus the Damallsvenskan on 13 April. Svenska Cupen ended with the final played at the national stadium Friends Arena on 26 May. Allsvenskan ended on 3 November, Superettan one day earlier on 2 November, Division 1 and lower men's leagues on 26 October and Damallsvenskan on 20 October. Qualification play-offs were held after the end of league play with the Allsvenskan play-offs being held on 7 and 10 November and the Superettan play-offs being held on 6 and 9 November. Svenska Supercupen was held on 10 November and was contested by the winner of Allsvenskan and Svenska Cupen. Sweden participated in qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sweden also hosted UEFA Women's Euro 2013 between 10 and 28 July.

2013 Svenska Cupen Final Football match

The 2013 Svenska Cupen final was played on 26 May 2013. The match was played at the national stadium Friends Arena in Solna which was completed in November 2012 and hosted the final for the first time. The final made its return to Solna for the first time since 2009 and it was also be the first time since 2006 that the final was played at a neutral venue. The final was the culmination of the 2012–13 Svenska Cupen, and the first time since 2001 that the final was held in springtime. Allsvenskan clubs Djurgårdens IF and IFK Göteborg contested the 2013 final. In Sweden the match was televised live on SVT.


  1. "Säljer del av Friends Arena" (in Swedish). Sveriges Television.
  4. 1 2 3 "This is Friends Arena". Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  6. "Ny toppsiffra för AIK - slog publikrekordet på Friends" (in Swedish).
  7. "Inledande spadtag för nationalarenan" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
  8. "Frågor och svar" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2013-04-27.
  9. "Svenska ögonblick - Invigning Friends Arena" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2012-11-10.
  10. "Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I liked the first goal more because it was history". Guardian UK. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  11. Picture from the 2013 bandy final, with the all time high attendance of 38,474
  13. "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  14. Archived December 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
UEFA Women's Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
De Grolsch Veste
Preceded by
St. Jakob Park
UEFA Europa League
Final venue

Succeeded by
Parc Olympique Lyonnais