I go to almost every home game of Atlético Madrid together with my daughter. We have two regular places just behind the goal on the northern side. It’s mostly just a case of good-old-fashioned fun in the atmospheric setting of the community club where the grumbling crowd is always wanting a fierce match. Victories are celebrated with great intensity. But anyone who is a fan of Atlético is also doomed to suffer. Like this Sunday on the home ground against the younger Madrid brother CD Leganés: 0-0. It couldn’t have gotten any worse.
Los Colchoneros – the mattress sellers – are now playing for the third season in the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. The stadium has room for 68,000 spectators. But it can’t compete with other modern stadiums in terms of luxury and comfort. Like the Allianz Arena in Bayern Munich ( built in 2005) or Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium (2006). Nor the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (2017) – where four thousand solar panels are enough to power 23 home games. And even the partially rebuilt Johan Cruijff Arena, with its once unique retractable roof and numerous escalators, takes the comfort of its fans more into account in 2020.
LED from Philips
Of course it was with great sadness that we said farewell to El Vicente Calderón – that old cement stalwart that is forever treasured in the club’s song. However, the fans have embraced their new home with pride. Who could have ever imagined that Atlético Madrid plays in Spain’s most technologically advanced arena? For the time being, superpowers like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have been left at a disadvantage. Although both of these clubs are in the process of renovating in order to upgrade the Santiago Bernabéu and Camp Nou to even higher levels. In Madrid, a 360 degree scoreboard is planned and in Barcelona a 5G network is to be used to further develop e-sports. It’s not quite that far yet.
Heated pitches and Wi-Fi points
Atlético Madrid is now the first stadium in Europe to use 100% LED lighting from Philips. The light show in the stadium is particularly impressive during evening matches and pop concerts. The main team is presented with thunderous sounds and flashing red and white lights on the roof edges. This spectacle takes place in the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on a heated pitch, but can also be followed via four giant screens in the stands. And if you prefer to watch on your own screen, you can use one of the 1,600 wi-fi points.
All of those innovative technical feats in the Atlético house are absolutely amazing. Nevertheless, I would have preferred to see them on the field where the Portuguese João Félix played that Sunday. And then on an old and worn wooden scoreboard where after ninety minutes there would be an utterly undeserved 1-0 victory. In real life it turned out to be a very ugly 0-0 in brilliant LED lights.