Stadion Letná, Prague, Czech Republic

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Stadion Letná (Generali Arena), Praha 7 – Bubemeč (Prague)

Club: AC Sparta Praha + Czech National Team

Capacity: +/- 45.000 (max.) – current: 20.854

Build: 1917 – 1921 – 1934 – 1969 – 1994

Architect: Lev Lauermann (1921)

Opened: 13/05/1917 AC Sparta Praha – SK Viktoria Plzeň 3-2

Names: 1917 – 2003 Stadion Letná (Letenský Stadion)

2003 – 2007 Toyota Arena

2007 – 2009 AXA Arena

2009 – 20… Generali Arena

After sport club AC Sparta Praha had been allocated a piece of land to the Northwest of the city centre in 1914 from the Prague City Government, it was still a three-year wait before the first, primitive, stands around the playing field could be inaugurated. During the opening game on May 13, 1917 Sparta Prague booked a 3-2 win over SK Viktoria Plzeň.

Four years later, in 1921, architect Lev Lauermann designed a new wooden main stand for the stadium. The tribune with 1,600 seats was the largest of its kind in Central Europe. In Apil 10 1934, when the stadium’s capacity was raised from 25,000 to 45,000 places disaster struck. The wooden structure burned down and along with the stand the club archive and the trophy case went up in flames. The old wooden main stand was replaced by a safer copy, built of steel and concrete, in december 1935. The damage that the stadium would sustain ten years later, during the last year of the war, would be quickly restored after the war ended.

Between 1967 and 1969, the outlook of the stadium changed dramatically. With the exception of the main stand of 1935 all stands were replaced by a structure of steel and concrete. On top of the bottom ring with stand, a second ring was built using only seats. The renewed Letná with a capacity for 35,800 places was festively inaugurated on 7 May 1969  with a match between Sparta Prague and Austria Vienna, a match that was won by the Austrians with 1-2.
The stadium got its current look in 1994 when entrepreneur Petr Mach reconstructed Letná without a building permit. The Sparta Stadium was adapted to the standards of modern international football and transformed into an “all-seater” with 20.374 seats and 480 VIP-seats. With a pent-up playing field and stands up the sidelines the stadium today has a very English feel. The undersoil heating was added in 2001 so football can still be played during winter weather conditions.
 
Unfortunately, the commercialisation of football also hit the historical “Stadion Letná with numerous name changes. The name “Letná had to make way in 2003 for Toyota Arena”. Then the stadium was called AXA Arena” while in 2009 it was again renamed Generali Arena”. There are concrete plans to build a state-of-the-art new stadium with a capacity of up to 40,000 seats at the current location in the near future. The name of that new stadium is not yet known.
Sources:

wikipedia

“Strenger als die UEFA”. SEISS Michael in Stadionwelt nr. 13, sept. 2005

HEATLEY Michael. “Europese Voetbalstadions”. Atrium