King Abdullah Sports City

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King Abdullah Sports City Stadium
KASC (The Jewel Stadium)
Map
Full nameKing Abdullah Sports City Stadium
LocationNorth of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Coordinates21°45′48″N 39°9′51″E / 21.76333°N 39.16417°E / 21.76333; 39.1641721°45′47.6″N 39°9′51″E / 21.763222°N 39.16417°E / 21.763222; 39.16417
OwnerMinistry of Sport
OperatorSaudi Aramco
Capacity62,345
Record attendance62,345
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardYes
Construction
Built2012–2014
OpenedMay 1, 2014
Construction cost$560 million
ArchitectArup Associates
Structural engineerArup
Services engineerArup
Main contractorsBESIX, Al Muhaidib Contracting Company
Tenants
Al-Ahli (2014–present)
Al-Ittihad (2014–present)
Saudi Arabia national football team
Website
www.kasc.com

King Abdullah Sports City (Arabic: مدينة الملك عبدالله الرياضية), also nicknamed The Shining Jewel (Arabic: الجوهرة المشعة, romanizedal-Jawhara Al-Moshe'ah) or simply The Jewel, is a multi-use stadium and sports city located 30 kilometers north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The city was named after Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia when the stadium opened.[1]

The main stadium (King Abdullah International Stadium) is used for football, reaching a full capacity of 62,241 spectators. It is the biggest stadium in Jeddah, and the second biggest in Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh's King Fahd Stadium. Additionally, it is the 10th biggest stadium in the Arab world, and one of the biggest stadiums in Asia. Surrounding the main stadium are smaller sports venues. It also hosts athletics and indoor sporting events in indoor arenas. The stadium also hosted matches of the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup.

The bid for the construction was won by Saudi Aramco and the contractor for this project was a joint venture between Al Muhaidib Contracting Company and Belgian construction company BESIX Group.[2]

The company also provided an independent evaluation of the performance of local staff and the event safety officer (provided by Sword Security) during the inaugural event at the KASC stadium. This led to a significant number of safety and security recommendations and the appointment of a dedicated Stadium Manager.

The stadium field surface is paspalum turfgrass marketed as Pure Dynasty Seeded Paspalum and provided by Atlas Turf International.[3]

Background and construction[edit]

The idea of a new large stadium in the city of Jeddah was considered in the late 1990s, and was always anticipated by Saudi football fans. In 2012, the new stadium's construction began. Before the stadium was launched officially in 2014, Jeddah's main stadium was Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium, accommodating 24,000 and hosting numerous great matches and events in Saudi football history.

Designed and delivered by Arup Associates' architects and delivered by Arup's engineers.

Opening ceremony[edit]

The city opened officially on May 1, 2014, hosting the final of the 2014 King's Cup tournament between Jeddah's Al-Ahli SC and Riyadh's Al-Shabab, in front of 62,241 fans.[4] In a hometown upset, Al-Shabab won 3–0, and were crowned their 3rd King's Cup championship.[4] The match was attended by then-King Abdullah, along with then-Crown Prince Salman and then-Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin.

Facilities[edit]

Outside the main stadium, the city has three separate football fields and four small indoor arenas also used for football. It also has six tennis courts and a large indoor arena for sports and other purposes. The city has a main mosque and six separate smaller mosques. The city is further equipped with a comprehensive media center, in which spacious rooms are used for press conferences for players, coaches, and football personalities.

Tickets and seating capacity[edit]

The main stadium can fit up to 63,241 in attendance. The lower section of the stadium (L) contains 38 blocks accommodating 631 seats per block with a total of 24,000 seats. The middle section (M) contains 48 blocks accommodating 500 seats per block with a total of 24,000 seats. The upper and smallest section (U) has 48 blocks accommodating 291 seats per block with a total of 14,000 seats. The stadium also holds hundreds of private seats and car parking spots reserved to those of special needs.

The maximum viewers witnessed was for Brazil national football team against Argentina national football team with 62,345.

Records[edit]

As of April 2, 2017:
  • The first match held at the stadium was between Al-Ahli and Al-Shabab in the 2014 King's Cup final on May 1, 2014.
  • The first game win and championship win in the stadium was for Al-Shabab on May 1, 2014.
  • The biggest attendance was 62,241 fans in the opening ceremony between Al-Ahli and Al-Shabab on May 1, 2014.
  • The biggest attendance in the Saudi League was 60,134 fans in a match between Jeddah's Al-Ittihad and Riyadh's Al-Hilal on December 1, 2014. The match ended 0–0.
  • The first local derby was between Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad on December 19, 2014, in the Saudi League. The match ended 1–1, with over 59,026 fans in attendance.
  • Al-Ahli have the most wins in the stadium with 52 overall wins.
  • Al-Ittihad have the most losses in the stadium with 19 overall losses.
  • Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad have the most draws in the stadium with 15 overall draws.
  • Fernando Menegazzo scored the first goal at the stadium, from a penalty kick on May 1, 2014.
  • The first goal scored from open play was for Al-Shabab's Muhannad Assiri, on May 1, 2014.
  • The first hat-trick scored at the stadium was by Omar Al Soma, in a match against Hajer on August 16, 2014.
  • The first red card was endured by Al-Ahli's defender Ageel Balghaith on May 1, 2014.
  • Saudi Arabia beat East Timor 7–0, on September 3, 2015, to record the biggest win for a home team.
  • The heaviest defeat suffered by a home team was on May 8, 2016, when Al Ittihad lost 5–0 to Al-Nassr.
  • The highest scoring match was on February 4, 2016, between Al-Ittihad and Al-Raed which ended 6–2, with 8 goals being scored. The record was equaled on September 30, 2017, when Al-Ahli face Al-Raed which ended 5–3, with 8 goals being scored.

Other events[edit]

WWE[edit]

The stadium hosted WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble event on April 27, 2018, with over 60.000 people in attending.[5] The event featured the first ever 50-man Royal Rumble match, with Braun Strowman being declared the winner and the Greatest Royal Rumble Champion after last eliminating Big Cass.[6]

The event was a part of a 10-year strategic multi-platform partnership between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority in support of Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's social and economic reform program.[7]

WWE returned to Jeddah on June 7, 2019, with Super ShowDown, which featured the first ever 50-man Battle Royal.[8] The Undertaker and Goldberg competed in the main event.

Boxing[edit]

On October 8, 2017, a deal was agreed for the complex to host the final of the World Boxing Super Series: Cruiserweight tournament in May 2018.[9]

“This agreement is part of our broader commitment and work to develop the sport of boxing in Saudi Arabia. Having the first final of such a high profile and groundbreaking tournament take place in Saudi Arabia is a key milestone for us, and will be one of many major sports events to take place in the Kingdom next year.”

— Turki Al-Alsheikh, former president of The General Sports Authority

“This is fantastic news, not just for World Boxing Super Series but for boxing and for the sport in Saudi Arabia. We have seen huge and growing interest in the World Boxing Super Series from fight fans, broadcasters, commercial partners and venue owners from the major boxing markets around the world.”

— Roberto Dalmiglio, CEO of Comosa

In February 2018, the final was set to be Oleksandr Usyk vs. Murat Gassiev. May 11 was the date that was set for the final, however in April, Usyk suffered a minor injury to his left elbow and ultimately the final was rescheduled to take place on July 21 in Moscow, Russia. Usyk won the fight via a dominant unanimous decision.[10][11]

On July 5, it was rumoured the WBSS super middleweight final between George Groves vs. Callum Smith, an all-British fight, would not take place in the UK and likely to take place in Jeddah.[12] Both boxers made their opinions known that it was not ideal the final should take place Jeddah as it would be much bigger in the UK, however there was no complaints from either side. There was more frustration at the bout being postponed.[13][14] The final was announced to take place on September 28 at a 10,000 capacity arena at the Complex.[15]

A heavyweight boxing match dubbed 'Rage on the Red Sea' sees Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua fighting for the second time. This fight was confirmed for the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah as of June 2022, Usyk was the winner of their first fight which happened in London, England during September 2021.[16] This rematch is Joshua's second professional fight in Saudi Arabia, he previously fought Andy Ruiz Jr. in the 'Clash on the Dunes' at the Diriyah arena during 2019. The boxing match is set to take place on Saturday the 20th of August 2022 with a maincard including the first all female boxing fight in Saudi Arabia.[17][18][19]

Tennis[edit]

From 2023 to 2027, the Next Generation ATP Finals will be hosted in the stadium.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "King Abdullah Sports City debuts on May 1". Arab News. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  2. ^ "King Abdullah Sports City Project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | BAM Sports GMBH". Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  3. ^ "Pitch Manager of Saudi Stadium a Fan of Pure Dynasty® Seeded Paspalum". Atlas Turf International. 12 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Al Ahli vs Al Shabab - Saudi Arabia Pro League Head to Head (H2H) Statistics and Match Preview". Soccerpunter.com. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  5. ^ WWE.com staff (March 5, 2018). "Saudi Arabia to host the Greatest Royal Rumble". WWE. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "Seven title bouts, 50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match announced for Greatest Royal Rumble". WWE. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "National Transformation Program 2020" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  8. ^ "Undertaker, Goldberg to clash for first time ever at WWE Super ShowDown". WWE. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  9. ^ "Jeddah set to host World Boxing Super Series final". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  10. ^ "Usyk-Gassiev WBSS title fight postponed". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  11. ^ "Usyk vs. Gassiev Officially Announced For July 21, Moscow". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  12. ^ "George Groves vs. Callum Smith Not Likely To Land in UK". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  13. ^ "Callum Smith says a World Boxing Super Series final in Saudi Arabia would not be ideal". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  14. ^ "Boxing News at Five: WBSS bantamweight collection is complete, George Groves isn't happy, and MTK Global sign Nordine Oubaali - Boxing News". Boxing News. 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  15. ^ "Groves vs. Smith Finalized For September 28 in Jeddah". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  16. ^ "Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk II confirmed for 20 August in Saudi Arabia the rematch". bbc.co.uk. 19 June 2022.
  17. ^ "OLEKSANDR USYK VS. ANTHONY JOSHUA 2: DATE, FIGHT TIME, TV CHANNEL AND LIVE STREAM". dazn.com. 16 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua rematch: Undercard confirmed including historic women's fight in Saudi Arabia". skysports.com. 27 July 2022.
  19. ^ "Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2: Fight card, odds, location, PPV price, start time, date, complete guide". cbssports.com. 18 August 2022.

External links[edit]