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The international friendly was played in front of a sold-out crowd of fans who were able to experience the MLS stadium, designed by HOK and Snow Kreilich Architects, for the first time.

St. Louis CITY SC celebrated the soft opening of its new CITYPARK stadium on Nov. 16 with a match between CITY2, the club’s developmental squad, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen from Germany’s Bundesliga. The first MLS match in 2023 will serve as the official kickoff for the stadium.

Check out this St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo gallery.

The new stadium anchors an emerging mixed-use district in its Downtown West neighborhood. The team is one of the few U.S. professional sports teams and the only MLS club to have its stadium, team headquarters, training and performance center and practice fields in one centralized downtown location.

The stadium’s central location off Market Street celebrates views of the Gateway Arch and historic Union Station through a transparent and connected facade. A sleek, flat portico and tall, slender columns complement the building’s urban context.

The 22,500-capacity venue features an intimate seating bowl, with no seat further than 120 feet from the field. The seating bowl is 40 feet below street level, reinforcing a pedestrian-friendly scale and integrating the building into its neighborhood.

Creative premium offerings, locally-inspired food and beverage options, and integrated technology help create a great experience for fans.

Images and video courtesy of St. Louis CITY SC.

Though the local squad lost the game, the consensus was that the new stadium made St. Louis the big winner. Here are a few excerpts about the new CITYPARK from local media outlets:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch | A New Era Begins as CITYPARK Opens Its Doors for Its First Soccer Game

“What was once a freeway offramp and a parking lot completes its metamorphosis on Wednesday evening when St. Louis City SC’s stadium, CITYPARK, opens its doors to the public for the first time as St. Louis CITY2, the club’s developmental squad, takes on Bayer Leverkusen, from Germany’s Bundesliga. ‘Everybody’s very excited,’ said midfielder Eduard Lowen, one of City’s five Bundesliga alumni. ‘You feel in the city, even when you talk to people on the streets or somewhere, you feel it. The whole city is very excited about the club and the games.”’

St. Louis Post-Dispatch | CITYPARK Soccer Stadium Will be Loud, But is Built to Fit Unto its St. Louis Neighborhood

“The size fits into the neighborhood without overwhelming it, and its dimensions are well short of the sidewalks to make it a gathering place before, during and after the games, Chief Brand Architect Lee Broughton said. Contributing to the sense of proportion, about half the stadium sits below street level. Open corners provide passersby a view inside. For fans inside who are looking out, views include the Gateway Arch, the St. Louis Wheel and the old train shed at Union Station.”

St. Louis Magazine | Peek Inside CITYPARK Before Wednesday’s Inaugural Match

“‘We spent a lot of time on this idea of being frictionless, studying the fan journey to get people in and out of the stadium quickly by using mobile ticketing, and getting people in and out of the concession stands that would normally be bogged down with lines at halftime,’ CITY Chief Experience Officer Matt Sebek said.

“Three grab-and-go markets have also been designed to ease congestion before matches and at halftime. At these spots, you’ll enter through a subway-style turnstile, scan your credit card (or app), and take whichever hot food or cold beverage appeals to you. Once you have what you want, simply walk out. ‘There’s no line. There’s no point of sale,’ Sebek said. ‘Through the use of cameras and sensors on the shelves, everything happens seamlessly. At a traditional concession stand, the average wait time is about six or seven minutes. We can get people in and out of here in 30 seconds.’”

FOX 2 | CITYPARK Hosts Its First Pro Soccer Match Tonight

“The players aren’t the only ones excited about the big debut tonight. Downtown businesses near the stadium can’t wait as well. Several restaurants and bars very close to the stadium like Maggie O’Brien’s, Syberg’s on Market, and The Schlafly Tap Room are all expecting some big business from soccer fans flocking to the new CITYPARK. We spoke earlier with Dennis Moore, the chief revenue officer for St. Louis CITY SC. He shared that CITY SC wants to be a big part of helping the community here flourish in many ways. ‘When you think about the name of our club, St. Louis CITY–we will play games in the city, we will train in the city, we will work in the city, and this really is about creating a renaissance and getting people back into downtown St. Louis,’ Moore said.’”

The post New Stadium for Major League Soccer’s St. Louis CITY SC Hosts Inaugural Match appeared first on HOK.

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