EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES UNDERLINE IMPORTANCE OF VERSATILE OPERATIONS – OLYMPIC STADIUM IS A MULTIPURPOSE ARENA
Hailed by great public interest, the renewed Olympic Stadium opened its doors in August 2020 in the midst of an exceptional year. The Stadium has been operating responsibly under the orders issued by the authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even in these exceptional times, the Stadium, a multipurpose arena, has been full of life – during the latter half of 2020, the Stadium had about 70,000 visitors under safe conditions.
The reopening of the Stadium was celebrated during the inauguration weeks in August and September 2020, with due attention to the orders issued by the authorities in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. After the opening weeks, the Stadium has been the venue of several other public gatherings. The largest of its kind in the Nordic countries, the Helsinki Design Week collaborated with the Stadium and could organise the event safely in the spacious premises, irrespective of the limitations imposed by the corona virus. In October, the Stadium provided the setting for the Helsinki City Running Day while the men’s national team played two UEFA Nations League matches on the Stadium, with the public limited to the allowed numbers.
The total number of Stadium visitors during the autumn 2020 was about 70,000. The visitor services were managed safely by the experienced event professionals, and despite the relatively high number of visitors, no viral exposures related to the Stadium have been ascertained. It is fairly easy to keep safe distances in the 90,000 m2 of the Stadium’s inside and outside facilities.
The Olympic Stadium is a multipurpose venue for events but also for physical exercise and meetings, tourist and office space services. Despite the exceptional situation, the various functions have had a positive launch, strengthening the overall active operation of the Stadium.
The novel Olympic Stadium includes facilities occupied currently by 15 different companies. The meeting facilities and the underground exercise spaces are used for training and seminars, and also as support space for logistics and event productions. The new exercise world at the Stadium has been utilised by sports enthusiasts of all age groups, from the Olympic Committee athletes to clubs and association organising activities for the children and the young. In October and November alone, the Stadium was visited by 7,520 sports people. From the functionality and corona safety perspective, the Stadium offers good possibilities for multifaceted activities, even during exceptional circumstances.
Public events hopefully restart in coming summer
The Stadium grass pitch is currently being revived for the football eliminations of 24 February between Finland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision on the presence of the audience remains to be made. In addition to several sports events, the summer and autumn 2021 bookings include concerts of Antti Tuisku, Sunrise Avenue, Apulanta and Haloo Helsinki.
Stadium’s bright future outlooks
The year 2022 is the 70th anniversary of the Helsinki Olympics and the Stadium. Director Ari Kuokkanen of the Olympic Stadium has an optimistic view on the future.
“The new Helsinki Olympic Stadium is a truly grand arena we are proud of. We have succeeded in creating the world’s most versatile and functional Stadium and bringing new flourish to the 80-year-old institution.”
The Stadium has had a lot of attention because of the refurbishment costs. Director Kuokkanen assures that society will have return on its investment, despite the difficult situation. The future events at the Stadium are estimated to generate about 1150 jobs annually, with 132 million euro of production revenue. In addition to the events, the everyday operations of the multipurpose stadium have great societal significance.
“Once, the Stadium was a symbol of making it through the wars. Refilling the new Olympic Stadium, we will have conquered Covid-19. There are great times ahead – unique experiences and encounters”, Director Kuokkanen promises.