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Yucatán unveils details of its striking new sports stadium

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Yucatán’s government says the new stadium will be built with private funds and will serve as a key piece of infrastructure for the state: Photo: Courtesy

Plans have been unveiled for the construction of a new sports arena in Mérida’s north with a maximum capacity of 32,000 spectators. 

It will be located north of Mérida near the Siglo XXI convention center and the Museo del Mundo Maya.

If all goes according to plan, the stadium would be ready by spring 2023 and would be the new home for Yucatán’s pro baseball and soccer teams. 

According to a press release, the design of the stadium allows for multiple configurations of seating arrangements. This is important as it would allow the stadium to be a truly multi-purpose venue and host a number of other events such as concerts and conventions. 

Render of Mérida’s future stadium in its baseball configuration. Photo: Courtesy

The circular facade is a mix of the avant-garde with pre-Hispanic details inspired by the ring of the Mayan ball court. On the sides, ancient Mayan glyphs will be covered by transparent solar cells in allusion to Merida as the “White City.

Mérida’s new stadium complex is also expected to have a hotel, museum, shopping center, and other amenities.

“Apart from being very modern and beautiful, the new stadium design also incorporates several elements which will make it one of the most environmentally sustainable venues in the world,” said Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.

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“This new stadium will create 2,000 construction jobs and will serve as a key piece of Mérida’s ever-improving infrastructure,” said Mayor Renán Barrera Concha.

The new stadium joins a list of other ambitious projects financed by private capital which also include Mérida’s new airport, Tren Maya Station, and convention center — which has already been in operation for a couple of years.

Critics of these types of megaprojects point out that although they are built with private funds, that does not mean that the taxpayer is off the hook. This is because state and municipal governments are still responsible for paying out subsidies and rents, as well as building up the necessary infrastructure to connect the new project to the cities road network. 

The fate of Yucatán’s Kukulcán Álamo baseball stadium, which has served as home-field for the Leones since 1982, is up in the air. As is the Estadio Carlos Iturralde Rivero, home to the Venados, Yucatán’s pro soccer team. 

When the stadium was first announced last year, it was reported that its design and construction would be overseen by a New York-based real estate firm. However, current reports make no mention of this fact, hinting at a new developer.

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