The Estadio Azteca (Spanish pronunciation: [esˈtaðjo asˈteka]) is a multi purpose stadium located in Mexico City. It is the official home of football club Club América, and the Mexico national football team. The stadium sits at an altitude of 7,200 feet (2195 meters) above sea level. With an official capacity of 87,523, it is the largest stadium in Mexico. As of 2018, the stadium also serves as the home of Cruz Azul. The National Football League (NFL) features one game at Estadio Azteca per season as a part of their International Series.
El Coloso de Santa Úrsula
"The Colossus of Santa Úrsula"
|Location||Tlalpan, Mexico City|
|Public transit||Xochimilco Light Rail|
|Record attendance||Football: 119,853 (Mexico vs Brazil, 7 July 1968)|
Boxing: 132,247 (Julio César Chávez vs Greg Haugen, 20 February 1993)
|Field size||105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)|
|Surface||PlayMaster Hybrid Grass|
|Opened||29 May 1966|
|Renovated||1986, 1999, 2013 and 2016|
|Construction cost||MXN$260 million|
|Architect||Pedro Ramírez Vázquez|
|Club América (1966–present)|
Cruz Azul (1971–1996, 2018–present)
Mexico national football team (1966–present)
Necaxa (1966–1971, 1982–2003)
Atlante (1966–1982, 1996–2001, 2004–2007)
Atlético Español (1971–1982)
Regarded as one of the most famous and iconic football stadiums in the world, it is the first to have hosted two FIFA World Cup Finals; in the 1970 World Cup Final, Brazil defeated Italy 4–1, and in the 1986 World Cup Final, Argentina defeated West Germany 3–2. It also hosted the 1986 quarter-final match between Argentina and England in which Diego Maradona scored both the "Hand of God goal" and the "Goal of the Century". The stadium also hosted the "Game of the Century", when Italy defeated West Germany 4–3 in extra time in one of the 1970 semifinal matches. Additionally, it is scheduled to host games in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The Estadio Azteca was designed by architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Rafael Mijares Alcérreca and broke ground in 1961. The inaugural match was between Club América and Torino F.C. on 29 May 1966, with a capacity for 107,494 spectators. The first goal was scored by Brazilian Arlindo Dos Santos and the second one by Brazilian José Alves "Zague"; later, the Italians tied the game, which ended in 2–2 draw. Mexican president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz made the initial kick and FIFA president Sir Stanley Rous was the witness.
A modern illumination system was inaugurated on June 5, 1966, with the first night game played between Spanish side Valencia C.F. and Necaxa. The first goal of the match was scored by Honduran José Cardona for Valencia. Roberto Martínez, aka Caña Brava, became the first Mexican to score a goal in the stadium after scoring for Necaxa. The result was a 3–1 victory for Valencia.
The Estadio Azteca is also the site in which Pelé and Diego Maradona (during the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cup) lifted the trophy for the last time (The Jules Rimet Trophy and the current FIFA World Cup Trophy, respectively).
Estadio Azteca has also been used for musical performances throughout its history. Michael Jackson (5 sold-out shows in 1993), U2 (in 2006 and 2011), Luis Miguel (in 2002), Elton John, Maná, Juan Gabriel, Gloria Estefan, Jaguares, Lenny Kravitz, *Nsync, Hanson, Ana Gabriel, and The Three Tenors all have become part of the stadium's main spectacle. The stadium has also been used for political events, including Mexican president Felipe Calderón's campaign closure in 2006, as well as religious events, such as Jehovah's Witnesses conventions, and the appearance of Pope John Paul II in 1999.
In April 2017, it was announced that starting July 2018, Cruz Azul would relocate to the Azteca on a temporary basis, due to the impending demolition of the Estadio Azul. According to club owner Guillermo Álvarez, they plan on building a new private stadium, which could take an estimated three-to-four years.
The stadium is scheduled to host games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup that will take place in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It will be the third time Azteca hosts World Cup games as the 1970 and 1986 games took place at the stadium. Additionally, it is currently vying for the inaugural game with SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles as another possible venue for the game.
2015–19 renovation plansEdit
The stadium has undergone gradual improvements and renovations, including the replacing of seating within the stadium as well as the installation of electronic advertising boards. In May 2015, modern Panasonic LED panels were installed at the north and south ends of the stadium, replacing the phosphorous panels installed in 1998.
In February 2015, a vast renovation plan was unveiled with the intention that the completion of the project coincide with the stadium's 50th anniversary and with Club América's centenary in 2016, as well as the construction of a commercial hub outside the stadium to be completed some time in 2019. It was reported that Grupo Televisa, owners of the stadium, approved a joint-venture bid from private development firms IQ Real Estate and Alhel. The hub, named "Foro Azteca", will reportedly consist of a mall, office spaces, two hotels, new leisure spaces and parking spaces for 2,500 cars. The renovations to the stadium were planned in two phases; the first saw the demolition of the restaurant and seating at the lower east stand and the construction of a new hospitality area with dining and banqueting spaces. The second phase consisted of the construction of new media boxes and private skyboxes at the upper west stand. The renovations to the stadium were completed in November 2016. The seating capacity was ultimately reduced to 87,000 as a result of the renovations.
The name "Azteca" is a tribute to the Aztec heritage of Mexico City. The stadium is currently owned by Mexican multimedia conglomerate Televisa, which has a heated media rivalry with the similarly-named TV Azteca. Although there had been little to no confusion between the stadium and television network (which had only come into existence four years before in 1993), Televisa officially changed the stadium's name to Estadio Guillermo Cañedo on January 20, 1997, in tribute to Guillermo Cañedo de la Bárcena, a top network executive, former Mexican Football Federation president, and a prominent member of the FIFA executive committee who had died that day. As with the similar situation with the defunct Candlestick Park in San Francisco in the United States and its sponsored names, few outside of Televisa itself took up the new name, and most of the general public probably had no thought about the stadium's ownership (much less the Televisa/Azteca rivalry) and continued to refer to the Estadio Azteca by its original (and current) name. After two of Cañedo's sons took a business interest in TV Azteca in 1998, Televisa quietly returned to referring to it solely as Estadio Azteca.
Known colloquially by the nickname "Coloso de Santa Úrsula", which in English translates to "Colossus of Saint Ursula", due to its large structure and Santa Úrsula referring to the suburb where the stadium is located.
Access and entranceEdit
It is served by the Azteca station on the Xochimilco Light Rail line. This line is an extension of the Mexico City metro system which begins at Metro Tasqueña station and ends in the Xochimilco Light Rail Station.
Tickets are available up until kick-off times from the ticket office which is located at the front of the stadium, located towards the exit ramps from the Azteca station. Prices start from as little as MXN$100 (about US$5 as of 2016), and could cost up to MXN$500 (about US$26 as of 2016) for more high-profile matches.
Monuments and memorialsEdit
There is also a commemorative plaque with the names of the first goal scorer in the inaugural match and in the first match played at night.
Estadio Azteca has hosted a variety of international sporting competitions, including:
- 1968 Summer Olympics
- 1970 FIFA World Cup
- 1975 Pan American Games
- 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship
- 1985 Mexico City Cup / Azteca 2000
- 1986 FIFA World Cup
- 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup
- 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup
- 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup
- 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup
- The 1971 final of the Martini supported and from FIFA independent "Ladies World Championships" (attended by no less than 112.500 people)
List of 1970 FIFA World Cup matchesEdit
|Date||Time (UTC−6)||Team #1||Res.||Team #2||Round||Attendance|
|1970-05-31||12:00||Mexico||0-0||Soviet Union||Group 1||107,160|
|1970-06-03||16:00||Belgium||3-0||El Salvador||Group 1||92,205|
|1970-06-06||16:00||Soviet Union||4-1||Belgium||Group 1||95,261|
|1970-06-07||12:00||Mexico||4-0||El Salvador||Group 1||103,058|
|1970-06-10||16:00||Soviet Union||2-0||El Salvador||Group 1||89,979|
|1970-06-20||16:00||West Germany||1-0||Uruguay||3rd place match||104,403|
List of 1986 FIFA World Cup matchesEdit
|Date||Time (UTC−6)||Team #1||Res.||Team #2||Round||Attendance|
|1986-06-15||12:00||Mexico||2-0||Bulgaria||Round of 16||114,560|
|1986-06-18||12:00||England||3-0||Paraguay||Round of 16||98,728|
- On 15 August 1994, Estadio Azteca hosted a preseason American Bowl game between the Houston Oilers and Dallas Cowboys which still holds the record for the highest attendance at any NFL game, with 112,376 in attendance. The Houston Oilers won the game 6–0.
- On 2 October 2005, the first international regular-season game in the history of the NFL was played in the stadium between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The game was a 31–14 victory for the Cardinals. It set the record of the largest crowd to attend a regular-season NFL game with 103,467, but this record would be broken in 2009.
- On 21 November 2016, the Oakland Raiders hosted a home game along with the Houston Texans as part of the NFL International Series in the first game dubbed NFL Mexico Game. It was the first Monday Night Football game played outside the United States. The game saw a sell-out crowd of 76,743 in a renovated Estadio Azteca.
- On 19 November 2017, the Raiders hosted the Patriots at the stadium.
- The Kansas City Chiefs were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Rams at the stadium on 19 November 2018. However, due to poor field conditions brought on by recent events, as well as rain, the NFL cancelled the event and moved it to the Rams' home stadium Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
- The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Chargers on 18 November 2019 with the Chargers designated as the “home” team.
|Date||Away Team||Result||Home Team||Attendance|
|August 15, 1994||Houston Oilers||6–0||Dallas Cowboys||112,376|
|August 17, 1998||New England Patriots||21–3||Dallas Cowboys||-|
|August 19, 2000||Indianapolis Colts||24–23||Pittsburgh Steelers||-|
|August 19, 2001||Oakland Raiders||21–6||Dallas Cowboys||-|
|October 2, 2005||San Francisco 49ers||14–31||Arizona Cardinals||103,467|
|November 21, 2016||Houston Texans||20–27||Oakland Raiders||76,473|
|November 19, 2017||New England Patriots||33–8||Oakland Raiders||77,357|
|November 19, 2018||Kansas City Chiefs||N/A||Los Angeles Rams||cancelled|
- Future games
|Date||Away Team||Home Team|
|November 18, 2019||Kansas City Chiefs||Los Angeles Chargers|
- On 12 March 1983, Menudo was the first band to sell out a solo concert at the stadium with an attendance of over 100,000 people.
- On 29, 31 October and 07, 09 and 11 November 1993, Michael Jackson finished the Dangerous World Tour with five sold out shows at this stadium, for a total of 500,000 people (circa 100,000 per show, more than any other artist or band, Mexican or International).
- On 14 and 15 February 1997, Gloria Estefan performed at the stadium.
- On 16 June 2000, Los Temerarios performed at the Estadio Azteca for the first time in their career, in a sold out concert with the max of capacity, was over 87,000 people that attended. This concert was filmed in live.
- On 14 May 2011, Irish rock band U2 presented the 360° Tour scoring the most-attended concert on the tour with a total attendance of 110,000 people.
- On 8 May 2012, Paul McCartney performed at the Estadio Azteca for the first time in his career, in a non-sold-out concert for 53,000 people.
- On 16 April 2016, Vicente Fernández played his farewell concert, titled "UN AZTECA EN EL AZTECA, ADIÓS A UN GRANDE", to a sell out crowd at the stadium with an attendance of over 100,000 people.
- On 11 and 12 October 2018, Shakira performed for around 150,000 fans with her El Dorado World Tour.
- Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua held a two-day Christian crusade, attracting an estimated 150,000 over both days.
- From December 13 to 14, 2013, assemblies were held by the Jehovah's Witnesses to commemorate their religious devotion with a series of performances in scenes of biblical passages, social-contemporary themes and Christian baptisms, of which each day record of participation of 105,000 faithful, of which on Sunday there was the record time of eviction of 10 minutes for reasons of other scheduled events and in turn 2000 participants were dedicated to cleaning after each event.
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The massive bowl, Estadio Azteca, sits in the southern part of this sprawling metropolis like a concrete sombrero. The stadium’s mystique — especially its 105,000 spectators and its 7,200-foot altitude — will play an integral role Wednesday in a World Cup qualifying match between Mexico and the United States.
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