Aviva Stadium (also known as Lansdowne Road or Ireland's stadium; Irish: Staid Aviva) is a sports stadium located in Dublin, Ireland, with a capacity for 51,700 spectators (all seated). It is built on the site of the former Lansdowne Road Stadium, which was demolished in 2007, and replacing it as home to its chief tenants: the Irish rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team. The decision to redevelop the stadium came after plans for both Stadium Ireland and Eircom Park fell through. Aviva Group Ireland signed a 10-year deal for the naming rights in 2009.
|Former names||Lansdowne Road and Dublin Arena|
|Location||62 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, Dublin, Ireland|
|Public transit||Lansdowne Road railway station|
|Owner||Irish Rugby Football Union|
Football Association of Ireland
|Operator||New Stadium Ltd|
|Capacity||51,700 (rugby union, Association football) |
49,000 (American football)
|Field size||106 m × 68 m (348 ft × 223 ft)|
|Broke ground||March 2007|
|Opened||14 May 2010|
|Construction cost||€410 million |
(inclusive of EUR € 191 million of government funding) (2010)
|Architect||Populous (formerly HOK Sport) |
Scott Tallon Walker
|Structural engineer||Buro Happold|
|Services engineer||ME Engineers Town Planning Consultants = Tom Phillips + Associates|
|Ireland national rugby union team (2010–present) |
Republic of Ireland national football team (FAI) (2010–present)
Leinster Rugby (2010–present)
The stadium, located adjacent to Lansdowne Road railway station, officially opened on 14 May 2010. The stadium is Ireland's first, and only, UEFA Category 4 Stadium and in 2011, it hosted the Europa League final. It also hosted the inaugural Nations Cup, as well as the regular home fixtures of the national rugby team, national football team and some home fixtures for Leinster Rugby from August 2010 onwards.
Unlike its predecessor, which was solely owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the current stadium is controlled by the IRFU and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) through a 50:50 joint venture known as the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company (LRSDC). The joint venture has a 60-year lease on the stadium; on expiry the stadium will return to the exclusive ownership of the IRFU.
In 2011, the stadium won a British Construction Industry Award.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish Army (operating under Operation Fortitude) used the stadium for testing from 14 May onwards, following the handover from the Naval Service (which had been conducting tests under Operation Fortitude at Sir John Rogerson's Quay until that time).
The Ireland national rugby union team plays its home games at the stadium, as it did previously at Lansdowne Road, taking over from their temporary home, Croke Park, where games were played during Aviva's construction. Ireland's first international game was on 6 November 2010 against South Africa, with the Springboks winning 23–21. The game drew a crowd of 35,515, mainly due to a backlash by Ireland supporters over the IRFU's controversial ticketing strategy for the November Test series. Initially, the IRFU announced that tickets to the November Tests would only be sold as packages for all four matches. Later, it announced that the tickets would instead be split into two packages, with the South Africa Test bundled with the following week's match with Samoa for a minimum of €150, and the New Zealand and Argentina Tests bundled for a minimum of €190. single-game tickets were to be available only for the Samoa and Argentina Tests. On 1 November, the IRFU backed away from this plan amid heavy criticism from member clubs that had problems selling the packages in a difficult economy.
The first rugby union game at the Aviva was an exhibition game on 31 July 2010, billed as the O2 Challenge, involving under-18 and under-20 players from all four of Ireland's provincial sides, with a Leinster/Ulster side defeating a Munster/Connacht combination 68–0. As part of the run-up to the event, O2 ran a promotion which gave the winner the opportunity to attempt to score the ceremonial first points at the Aviva via a simulated conversion kick on the day before the match. The winner of the promotion, John Baker of Ennis, was successful. The first official points at the Aviva were scored by Ulster's Craig Gilroy with a try in the O2 Challenge.
|Ireland's Record at the Aviva Stadium|
Updated 24 March 2021
The stadium also hosts some home games for Leinster when the RDS Arena's smaller capacity does not satisfy demand. Leinster won their opening home game in the Aviva against Munster 13–9, in the Celtic League (now PRO14) season, in front of a then record league attendance of 50,645. This league record was exceeded on 29 March 2014 when Leinster again beat Munster, 22–18, in front of 51,700 people.
Leinster won their first Heineken Cup game in the stadium 24–8, against Clermont Auvergne in a pool game during the 2010–11 season. During Leinster's successful run to the Heineken Cup title that season, they took their quarter-final and semi-final matches to the stadium, defeating Leicester Tigers and Toulouse respectively.
The 2013 Heineken Cup Final took place in the stadium on 18 May 2013 where Toulon beat Clermont Auvergne 16–15. The Heineken Cup final had last been held in Dublin in 2003 when Toulouse beat Perpignan 22–17 at Lansdowne Road.
|Leinster's Record at the Aviva|
|European Rugby Champions Cup/Heineken Cup||21||17||0||4||80.95%|
Updated 26 October 2020
The stadium also hosts the home games of the Republic of Ireland national football team, as did Lansdowne Road. The team had played most home games at Croke Park during the construction of the Aviva Stadium. The first soccer match in the Aviva Stadium was Manchester United against a League of Ireland XI side, managed by Damien Richardson, on 4 August 2010. Manchester United won the game 7–1, with Park Ji-Sung scoring the first ever goal in the Aviva Stadium. The first international game for Ireland in the Aviva Stadium was a 1–0 friendly loss against Argentina on 11 August 2010. The first competitive goal was scored by Kevin Kilbane in a Euro 2012 qualifying game on 7 September 2010 against Andorra.
|Ireland's Record at the Aviva|
|Competition||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||% Won||% Lost|
|World Cup qualifiers||12||4||3||5||33.33%||41.67%|
Updated as of 28 March 2021.
FAI Cup Final
The Aviva annually hosts the FAI Cup Final, which was shared between the RDS Arena and the Tallaght Stadium while the Aviva Stadium was being built. The first Cup Final at the new stadium was the 2010 FAI Cup Final, held on Sunday 14 November 2010. Sligo Rovers beat Shamrock Rovers 2–0 on penalties after the game finished 0–0 after extra time. A total of 36,101 attended the game making it the biggest attendance at an FAI Cup Final since 1968.
2011 Nations Cup
The 2011 Nations Cup took place in the Aviva Stadium. The tournament featured national football teams from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In the opening round of fixtures the Republic of Ireland beat Wales 3–0 while Scotland beat Northern Ireland 3–0. The remaining four fixtures took place in May, with the Republic of Ireland winning the tournament after beating Scotland 1–0 on 29 May, with Keane scoring the only goal.
2011 Europa League Final
The 2011 UEFA Europa League Final between Portuguese sides Porto and Braga took place in the Aviva Stadium. Due to UEFA rules against corporate sponsorship outside the federation, the stadium was referred to as the "Dublin Arena" for this final, that ended with a 1–0 victory for Porto.
Dublin Super Cup
The Dublin Super Cup was a pre-season football tournament which was held at the Aviva. Celtic, Manchester City, Inter Milan and a League of Ireland XI competed in the 2011 edition, with Manchester City winning the tournament.
The 'Dublin Decider'
The 'Dublin Decider' was a game which took place on 10 August 2013. The match was played between Celtic and Liverpool, with both teams having large support in Ireland. Celtic won the match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Amido Balde.
There were talks ongoing about a return of the 'Dublin Decider' in the summer of 2014 with clubs such as Barcelona, Manchester United and Celtic being mentioned as potential visitors to the Aviva Stadium. It was confirmed in March 2016 that Celtic will face Barcelona in the stadium on 30 July 2016, however this is as part of the annual International Champions Cup pre-season tournament, and not any sort of independent 'Dublin Decider' fixture. Barcelona won the game 3–1.
Abandoned UEFA Euro 2020 hosting
On 19 September 2014, UEFA announced that the stadium would host four fixtures in the Euro 2020 finals tournament, three of which would be group games and, the fourth, a round of 16 match. Had Ireland qualified they would have been guaranteed two home group games. As Aviva was not a commercial partner of the Euro 2020 tournament, the stadium would have been referred to as the Dublin Arena throughout. However, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and UEFA postponed the tournament until 2021 (though UEFA retained the tournament's original name). Restrictions still in force after the pandemic's Third Wave struck the Republic of Ireland, killing thousands in the early part of 2021, meant that Dublin and the Aviva Stadium were unable to fulfil their hosting duties to UEFA's satisfaction and, therefore, the stadium lost its Euro 2020 host rights. The announcement, which came on 23 April 2021, allocated Dublin's three group games to the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Dublin's originally scheduled last 16 tie to Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic was announced as a matchup between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Boston College Eagles to be played on 3 September 2016. The result was a 17–14 win by the Yellow Jackets.
|Concerts at the Aviva Stadium|
|24–25 September 2010||Michael Bublé||Crazy Love Tour||100,000|
|25 June 2011||Neil Diamond||World Tour 2011||50,108|
|2 July 2011||The Script||Science & Faith Tour||47,910|
|24 July 2012||Madonna||The MDNA Tour||33,953|
|15 September 2012||Lady Gaga||The Born This Way Ball||37,005|
|14 June 2013||Robbie Williams||Take the Crown Stadium Tour||65,000|
|21 June 2013||Rihanna||Diamonds World Tour||48,482|
|18 September 2013||Roger Waters||The Wall Live||24,210|
|1 July 2015||AC/DC||Rock or Bust World Tour||50,000|
|21 June 2016||Rihanna||Anti World Tour||29,017|
|17 June 2017||Robbie Williams||The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour||50,000|
|25 June 2017||Phil Collins||Not Dead Yet Tour|
|23 June 2018||Billy Joel||Billy Joel in Concert||40,590|
The stadium is a bowl shape with four tiers on three sides of the ground; the lower and upper tiers being for general access, the second and third levels feed the second tier for premium tickets and the fourth tier for corporate boxes. The northern end of the stadium, due to its proximity to local housing, incorporates only the lower tier of the bowl. This end of the stadium is to be the away stand for football internationals. There is one basement level and seven storeys of floors including ground level. The premium level holds 10,000 spectators, while the box level holds 1,300. The remaining 38,700 seats are shared between the top and bottom tiers. The capacity of the stadium was criticised even before its opening for being too small, particularly in light of the large supporter attendance figures for Irish rugby internationals and football internationals at Croke Park since 2007. The stadium's roof undulates in a wave-like manner so as to avoid blocking light to local residences.
In popular culture
The children's writer Gerard Siggins has based much of his 'Rugby Spirit' series in the Aviva Stadium. His hero, Eoin Madden, is on a school tour to the ground when he meets Brian Hanrahan, a true-life figure who was the only man ever to die playing sport in Lansdowne Road. Hanrahan, a Lansdowne FC rugby player, died when a scrum collapsed during a Leinster Senior Cup game against Trinity in 1928.
The stadium is served by public transport with Bus and DART. More remotely, it may also be reached, following by the Luas and on foot. The stadium is inaccessible by car on match days due to a 1 km car-free exclusion zone in operation.
|Dublin Bus||Pembroke Road||Bus routes 4, 7, 7a, 18 – 600-metre walk to stadium entrance|
|Charlotte Quay||Bus routes 1, 77a – 1.2 km walk to stadium entrance|
|Luas – Green Line||Charlemont||2.2 km walk|
|Luas – Red Line||Point Village||2.1 km walk|
|Iarnród Éireann – DART||Lansdowne Road||Direct to stadium|
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