The Stade Pierre-Mauroy, also called Decathlon Arena for sponsorship reasons, is in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France. It opened in 2012 and can seat 50,186 people. It’s the home field for the Lille OSC soccer team. The stadium used to be called Grand Stade Lille Métropole but was renamed in 2013 to honor Pierre Mauroy, a former mayor and Prime Minister.
Before the Grand Stade
In 1975, Lille OSC started playing at Stade Grimonprez-Jooris, which had 21,128 seats. The stadium didn’t meet UEFA standards, so in 2001, they played Champions League games at rival RC Lens’s home, Stade Félix-Bollaert. Plans for a new stadium got delayed and canceled due to concerns about its proximity to a 17th-century Citadel.
Left without a home, the team moved to Stadium Nord, which was even smaller and still didn’t meet UEFA requirements. When they qualified for the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, they had to play their European games at Stade de France. This ended after a tragic accident where two young fans were killed.
New administration, new project
When Lille’s local government expanded to include neighboring areas, they decided to build a new stadium. In December 2006, they asked for bids for a 50,000-seat venue that could host sports, concerts, and seminars. Three big construction companies responded in January with their own plans.
Eiffage proposed a 50,000-seat stadium with a unique feature: it could transform into a 30,000-seat arena in just one hour. Bouygues offered a stadium that was energy-efficient, powered mostly by renewable energy, and had 50,127 seats. Vinci’s design was the biggest, with 50,921 seats and solar panels for power.
In February 2008, Eiffage won the contract to build the stadium, which was officially signed later that October. They had 45 months to complete the project.
In July 2009, Eiffage got the go-ahead to start building the new stadium in Villeneuve-d’Ascq. By December, all local cities had approved the project. Work on nearby roads and subways started in March 2010, and the stadium construction itself kicked off a week later.
In May 2010, France was chosen to host the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, boosting support for the stadium. Martine Aubry, the new head of the Lille local government and a big fan of the project, was thrilled. Construction moved fast, with key parts like the roof support going up in 2011.
By 2012, the stadium’s retractable roof was installed in just one day, and despite some legal hiccups, the place was ready by summer. It opened in time for the LOSC’s 2012-13 soccer season.
Structure, facilities, and uses
Cost and financing
The stadium cost a total of €618 million. This covered the building, parking, and even making it earthquake-safe. The city, the soccer club, and the regional council all pitched in to pay for it.
People had mixed feelings about the cost. Some said the stadium would make the area more appealing and show off local tech. Others worried that the money might be wasted if the stadium doesn’t stay popular.
The earthquake safety features were added after a big quake in Japan made France change its laws. This part cost €96 million.
Tenants and sports uses
The stadium got a top-five ranking from UEFA and is set to boost the earnings of Lille OSC, the main team that plays there. The venue has been a host for a variety of sports, not just soccer. It’s held rugby games, basketball tournaments, and even handball championships.
It’s also on the list of sites for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. The most people ever to watch a game there were nearly 50,000, who saw Lille crush PSG 5-1 in 2019.
Multiple floor features
Stade Pierre-Mauroy has two main levels and can hold up to 50,186 people. It has special seats for business folks, VIPs, and the press. The stadium has a cool feature where half of the field can lift up and slide over the other half.
This makes room for a lower level with seats, where events like basketball games and concerts can happen. The stadium’s roof can open or close in just 15 minutes. It’s also eco-friendly, with solar panels and windmills for power. You can easily get there by metro or car, and there’s plenty of parking.
Deferent sports in Stade Pierre-Mauroy
The stadium was picked to host six games in the 2016 European Football Championship. However, the field quality was so bad they had to replace it three times in one month. In 2017, the stadium had a friendly match between Japan and Brazil to get ready for the 2018 World Cup.
In 2019, the stadium held the Coupe de la Ligue final. The game was between RC Strasbourg Alsace and EA Guingamp and had 49,161 fans watching.
The stadium set a Davis Cup record for most fans on the first day when it hosted the France-Switzerland final from November 21-23, 2014.
In 2017, the stadium held the Davis Cup semi-final between France and Serbia, and later the final between France and Belgium.
In 2018, it again hosted a Davis Cup semi-final, this time between France and Spain, followed by the final match between France and Croatia.
On November 17, 2012, the French rugby team played against Argentina’s team, Les Pumas, in an indoor match – a first for French rugby.
Stade Pierre-Mauroy has frequently hosted rugby matches, like the Top 14 semi-finals in May 2014, 2021, and planned for 2024. Notable matches include clashes between Stade français and Toulon, Racing 92 and Toulon, and a match between Castres Olympic and Montpellier Hérault Rugby.
The French team faced Argentina again on November 17, 2018.
The Stade Pierre-Mauroy has hosted numerous concerts since its opening:
The first concert was by the Stars 80 tour on June 28, 2013, with acts like Émile et Images and Jean-Luc Lahaye drawing 38,600 fans.
Rihanna held two concerts: one in July 2013 during her Diamonds World Tour and another in July 2016 for her Anti World Tour.
While Depeche Mode canceled a concert in 2013, impacting the stadium’s early reputation, they returned in 2017.
Notable French artists like Patrick Bruel, Johnny Hallyday, and Jacques Dutronc with his Vieilles Canailles trio have performed there.
International artists, such as Bruno Mars in 2017 and Roger Waters in 2018, also graced the stadium.
The venue held special events like the North Summer Festival and concerts featuring the Lille National Orchestra.
Recent performances include Indochine’s Central Tour in 2022 and Mylène Farmer’s opening concert for her 2023 tour.
This stadium has clearly been a major hotspot for artists and audiences alike.
The Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in France has over 50,000 seats and a roof and field that can move. It’s the home field for the Lille football team. It was built between 2008 and 2012 and cost 324 million euros. It’s the only stadium in France where the roof can open and close.
Besides football, the stadium is used for concerts, tennis, and basketball. It has even set crowd records for some basketball and tennis games. Two subway stations are close by, making it easy to get to.
It’s one of the best stadiums according to UEFA and has the fourth-largest number of seats in France. It was picked to host six matches in the 2016 European Football Championship.