The Lyon Olympic Park, also known as Groupama Stadium, is a football stadium in Décines-Charpieu, east of Lyon. Owned by OL Groupe, which also owns the Olympique Lyonnais football team, it was built between 2012 and 2015 and opened in 2016.
The stadium can fit almost 60,000 fans and has been the home field for the Olympique Lyonnais soccer team since 2016. Before this, the team played at Gerland Stadium. The place has also had big games like the Women’s World Cup in 2019 and Euro 2016.
Parc Olympique Lyonnais is the third-largest stadium in France. Besides from the stadium, the area also has other places such as: workout places, hotels, restaurants, and a museum. It even has a sports leisure zone and a training center for Olympique Lyonnais.
1. Construction project
The idea to build a new stadium for Olympique Lyonnais started in 2007. Initial plans aimed for a 2010 opening, but the project faced delays due to local opposition and financial challenges.
Originally planned for Vénissieux, the project was moved to Décines-Charpieu in eastern Lyon. Jean-Michel Aulas, the club’s president, eventually partnered with American architecture firm Populous for the design. The stadium’s seating capacity was later increased to 59,186.
France built the new stadium to improve its soccer facilities, and it helped them get to host the Euro 2016. Jean-Michel Aulas thinks the place will make a lot of money for the club, but official guesses are more cautious.
2. Administrative authorizations
In 2008, initial plans for the stadium faced setbacks, including a negative initial review from the local town planning board. However, this changed to a “favorable with reservations” opinion later that year. In 2009, the Carton Rouge association, opposing the project, managed to get a court to cancel the 2007 planning decision.
But a new planning decision had been made in July 2009, which stayed in effect. A building permit was eventually submitted in January 2011. In May 2011, the stadium was confirmed as a venue for Euro 2016. The state declared the project of “general interest” to expedite the process. Despite legal challenges and setbacks, the building permit was validated in 2012, and further legal opposition was dismissed.
3. Opposition to the project
Local groups and political bodies from various backgrounds opposed the stadium project in Décines-Charpieu. Key concerns included its environmental impact and the use of public funds for a private venture.Much of the land needed for the project was agricultural.
The low compensation offered to farmers for their land sparked protests and got a lot of media attention. Critics also argued that the new stadium’s transport options were inadequate. Unlike the old Gerland stadium served by a metro, the new location would depend on a tram line with lower capacity, even though the new stadium is bigger.
4. Public opinion
Surveys showed mixed opinions about building the new stadium. One survey in 2007 said 76% of Greater Lyon residents supported the project, but another in 2009 showed only 54% support in the nearby municipalities. Meanwhile, a 2008 survey found the stadium was the least important issue for Lyon residents.
An online poll by a Lyon magazine in 2010 revealed that 89% of its readers did not want the team to move from the old stadium to the new one. The writing team saw that people had really mixed feelings about the issue.
Another online poll in 2010 found that only 35% thought the new stadium should be built quickly, with 59% against it. This poll was widely shared by groups opposing the project.
How to get there?
You can easily get to Lyon Olympic Park by taking national road 346, also known as Rocade Est. Exit 7 leads directly to the stadium’s parking lots. Alternatively, you can park at Eurexpo or in the Meyzieu industrial zone and then hop on a bus or tram shuttle to reach the stadium. You have different ways to park and get to the stadium.
2. Public transportation
You can get to the stadium during events using special tram and bus shuttles run by TCL. OL Groupe covers the costs. They plan to move 33,000 fans: 12,000 by tram and 21,000 by bus.
The shuttles start running 2 hours and 15 minutes before the game and continue for 1 hour and 15 minutes after it ends. Depending on the crowd size and game time, they may use up to 140 drivers and 150 security staff.
You can only use these shuttles if you bought a special ticket along with your game ticket. If there’s no event, you can take the T7 tram line or bus line 85 to get there.
3. Stadium features
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Access to the Stadium is provided during events using a set of tram and bus shuttles operated by TCL, the operating costs of which are entirely covered by OL Groupe 64. According to estimates from SYTRAL,
the transport union responsible for TCL, the service plan must ensure the transport of 33,000 spectators: 12,000 by tram, via the infrastructure of the T3, T7 and Rhônexpress lines, and 21,000 by bus.
4. Financial aspects
The total cost for the Lyon Olympic Park project is about 640 million euros, with 405 million euros going for the stadium and around 180-190 million for access facilities. This cost is shared by Olympique Lyonnais and various private and public investors.
In 2013, the detailed financial plan included 135 million euros from equity, 112 million in bonds, and 144.5 million in loans from banks. An additional 13.5 million euros were guaranteed during construction, totaling around 405 million euros for the stadium.
By the end of 2015, an extra 5 million euros was added to the stadium’s budget for decorations, bumping the cost up to 410 million euros.
5. Artistic aspects
The stadium’s modern design is inspired by big stadiums in England and Germany. It’s pretty noticeable, especially if you’re driving on the nearby ring road going north or south. Initially, people didn’t like the stadium’s plain, unpainted concrete look. But it’s been spruced up over time.
The main fan groups, Bad Gones and Lyon 1950, painted the walls near the seating areas in their colors. The Offside Gallery also added art from global artists inside the stadium.
Use of the stadium
Olympique Lyonnais owns the stadium through OL Groupe, making it one of the few French soccer clubs that own their playing venue. The stadium opened on January 9, 2016, with a match against ESTAC, where Lyon won 4-1. The stadium hosted its 100th event on September 29, 2018, during a game between Olympique Lyonnais and FC Nantes.
To celebrate, the club gave one fan tickets to the next 100 events at the stadium. On October 2, 2018, the stadium had its first match without fans. This was due to a UEFA penalty following incidents during a previous game against CSKA Moscow. Despite two appeals, the decision stood, and the match against Shakhtar Donetsk was played with only officials and some guests.
Sporting events in Parc Olympique Lyonnais
1. Olympique Lyonnais (football)
The stadium has been hosting Olympique Lyonnais soccer matches since January 9, 2016. This includes games in Ligue 1, Champions League, and other leagues as well as friendlies. The stadium can hold 59,186 people, including parking for visitors.
It has seen several attendance records, with the highest being 58,230 spectators during a match between OL and PSG on September 18, 2022. Attendance varies depending on how many visiting fans show up. The visitor parking lot can accommodate up to 3,000 cars.
2. French football team
The Decinois stadium has been the venue for three matches featuring the French national soccer team.
The first was on June 26, 2016, during Euro 2016, where France beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 with 56,279 fans in attendance.
The most recent was on September 7, 2021, a 2022 World Cup Qualifier, where France defeated Finland 2-0 with 57,057 people watching.
3. Women’s football
The Lyon Olympic Park set a record for the most fans at a women’s European Cup game in France. It happened during the 2015-2016 Champions League semi-final first leg. On April 24, 2016, 22,050 people watched Olympique Lyon beat Paris Saint-Germain 7-0. It’s the second-best attendance for any women’s football club match in France.
4. Euro 2016 (football)
The Lyon Olympic Park hosted six games during the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. This included one round of 16 match and a semi-final. On June 13, 2016, Italy beat Belgium 2-0 with 55,408 fans watching. Another highlight was the semi-final on July 6, where Portugal defeated Wales 2-0 in front of 55,679 spectators.
The lowest turnout was for the Romania vs. Albania match, with 49,752 people, where Albania won 1-0.
5. 2016 European Rugby Cups
The Lyon Olympic Park hosted the finals for the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup in May 2016. The Champions Cup final on May 14, 2016, set a new attendance record for the stadium. The match between Saracens and Racing 92 drew a crowd of 58,017 people.
6. 2016–2017 Magnus League (ice hockey)
The Lyon Olympic Park held an outdoor ice hockey game on December 30, 2016. The local team, Lions de Lyon, played against Brûleurs de Loups de Grenoble. The match was part of the regular Magnus League season and was called Winter Game 2016.
7. 2018 Europa League (football)
The Lyon Olympic Park hosted the Europa League final on May 16, 2018. Atlético de Madrid beat Olympique de Marseille 3-0. There were 55,768 people watching the game.Marseille fans damaged the stadium, leading to a €100,000 fine and an empty-stadium game later.
8. Rugby League World Cup 2023
The Lyon Olympic Park is set to host five games during the 2023 Rugby League World Cup. The matches kick off with Wales vs. Australia on September 24 at 9 p.m., followed by Uruguay vs. Namibia on September 27 at 5:45 p.m.
The series ends with France playing Italy on October 6 at 9 pm. All the matches are part of the first round.
The Lyon Olympic Park, also called Groupama Stadium, is a big soccer stadium near Lyon, France. It’s been the home of the Olympique Lyonnais soccer team since 2016 and can fit almost 60,000 fans. The place has hosted big games like the Women’s World Cup in 2019 and Euro 2016. It’s not just a stadium; it’s got a business park, gyms, and even a museum.
Building this place was tough. The plan started in 2007 but faced delays from people who didn’t want it and money issues. Even with these problems, the stadium was a big part of France getting to host the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Some people didn’t like that it used public money and took up farmland.
Getting to the stadium is pretty easy. You can drive or take special buses and trams during game days that can carry up to 33,000 fans. The whole thing cost about 640 million euros, funded by a mix of loans and investments. The stadium itself cost around 410 million euros and is expected to make a lot of money for the soccer club. It’s also used for other sports events.