AEG Confirmed For New Sweden Arena

The new arena being built to replace Stockholm’s Söder Stadium is expected to be finished in 2012, now that the city council has confirmed the funding is in place and AEG will run it.

The 30,000-seat arena, located in the south of the city, is expected to cost about 2.7 billion Swedish kronor ($400 million).

It will replace the 43-year-old Söderstadion, which is in the same district and is home to Hammarby IF soccer team. A stadium has occupied the site since the Johanneshovs Idrottsplats soccer ground opened in 1918.

AEG became the favourite to win the stadium contract in May 2008 when the city of Stockholm announced the company would take over operations of the Stockholm Globe.

At the time, neither city of Stockholm chief of staff Torbjörn Johansson, Per Magnusson from AEG, nor Andreas Åström from the local government’s press office for culture and sport responded to Pollstar questions about the likelihood of Philip Anschutz’s company building and operating the new stadium. AEG operates venues all over the world including in Los Angeles, Brisbane, Beijing, London and Hamburg.

AEG owns almost half of Hammarby, which in 2009 finished bottom and was relegated from the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s premier League).

“It’s a lot of money but it’s going to be a fantastic arena,” Hammarby chief exec Henrik Appelqvist told national daily Aftonbladet when the new build was finally confirmed.

It appeared as if the Stockholm council could see the potential financial benefits of having the part-owner of the soccer team on board, particularly as it’s told the local tax payers that they won’t have to fork out a cent for the new building.

“Having agreed a contract with AEG, the last piece of the puzzle is in place turning this into a reality,” said Stockholm council culture and sports chief Madeleine Sjöstedt, when confirmation of the arrangement was first reported Nov. 13.

The city was first promised a new stadium in the mid-’90s, when Mats Hulth and his social democrats were trying to grab back control of the city from the “liberal conservative” Moderate Party.

It was arguably part of the strategy that returned them to power but, after 12 years and two more changes of city government, the Swedish capital was still no nearer to getting the new building.

As the 16,200-capacity Söder Stadium, part of The Globe complex, is to be demolished to make way for a residential development, a new building appears to have become a more pressing issue for the city’s 2 million or so inhabitants.

Prior to Stockholm’s 2006 municipal elections, Kristina Axén Olin – who went on to become mayor – and her Moderates pledged that the stadium would be started within their next term of office.

The city council is expected to formally stamp the deal Dec. 14, which will mean the building work can begin.

Primarily a sports venue for football and ice hockey, the new venue will take 30,000 spectators for soccer and sports events and 40,000 for pop concerts, when all or part of the playing pitch area can be used. It will have a retractable roof.

Events are expected to cover costs and the arena should aim to show a profitable business by 2019.