Why is Barcelona going to play at Montjuic?


Due to its popularity, people follow wherever FC Barcelona (or Fútbol Club Barcelona) goes. This is why team fans were surprised to hear that the matches for the new season (2023-24) were to be held in the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium in Sants-Montjuïc instead of the previous season’s stadium, Camp Nou. Why did this happen? Here we propose a summary.

The change(s)

The main reason for this location change involves several changes in Camp Nou, mainly related to technical aspects in the first two levels and a full-scale renovation of the third tier. Some auxiliary spaces, such as the press box and parking lots, among others, are also included in the to-do list. It is estimated that the full-restored-stadium will be available to use in the 2025-26 season. This does not mean FC Barcelona will completely abandon the stadium, for they can continue to train there and host some women’s team matches. 

In an effort made both by Barça and the City Council, measures to ensure fan’s transport towards the new location (with an emphasis both on public transport, including trains, metro, and buses, and on sustainable mobility) and security rules to guarantee the mountain’s safety were also contemplated. The distance between the two stadiums is less than 5 kilometers, so many means of transport are available. While some of them will be intensified (like the train), some proceedings also include the creation of a bike lane.

The team will have to face some schedule difficulties when playing in the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium for, as the name states, it is located in the Olympic Ring (or, for those having a go at spanish lessons barcelona, the Anillo Olímpico de Montjuic) and it has some cultural landmarks with busy calendars, such as Palau Sant Jordi and Esplanada Olímpica. 

Camp Nou: the starting point

The stadium opened its doors in 1957, and it has been the home of FC Barcelona ever since. The team was initially registered in 1903, but it was not until 1950 that it had a golden decade. Therefore, the links between the group and Camp Nou are those of prosperity, starting a history of renowned players (some of them are listed among the best in the world), such as Lionel Messi, Diego Armando Maradona, Ronaldo Nazario, and Ronaldinho, to name just a few.

The stadium was always located in the Les Corts district. Still, it did not always have the same name, for, though the fans always regarded it as “Camp Nou” or “New Field” (as opposed to the old Les Corts stadium), it was first called Estadio del Club de Fútbol Barcelona, and nowadays, due to sponsorship motives, it holds the name Spotify Camp Nou. As big as FC Barcelona’s name, it has the largest capacity in Europe (up to 100 000 seats) and is among the top three largest worldwide.

It is part of Barcelona’s tourist life as well as having a hold on the local’s identity, for some historical matches of some historical championships took place there, such as some FIFA World Cup (1982) games, a few events of the 1992 Olympics and several Champions League (or European Cup) finals as well as European Cup Winners’ Cup finals, among many others. As often happens with stadiums, it also welcomed Michael Jackson and U2 concerts, among many other international artists. 

The New Location: Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium and The Olympic Ring

As we have previously stated, FC Barcelona’s temporary new stadium is located in what is known as “The Olympic Rings” or L’Anella Olímpica de Montjuïc. This area is known for its sports installations around the Montjuic mountain, which became a historical icon for the city after the 1992 Olympic Games. For the occasion, the city built and renovated almost every stadium in the 400 hectares now receiving the name of the Anillo Olímpico de Montjuic. 

The idea sparkled after Barcelona became a candidate to host the Olympic Games. An architecture contest took place in 1983, and it summoned projects from international architects, from Stirling (England) to Weidel (Germany), without missing out on Isozaki (Japan).

Nevertheless, it was the local Catalonian team, constituted by Buixadé, Correa, Margarit, and Mila, that in 1984 became the winner of the competition. From its original design, it was conceived as a long-term project, valid during the Games and afterward. Nowadays, the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium is notable for its concerts and crowded musical events, and Palau Sant Jordi is often home to congresses and cultural events.

Some buildings, such as the Stadium and the Bernat Picornell pools, were already a part of Barcelona’s landscape before the 1992 Games and were renovated for the occasion. Yet many of what is the Olympic Rings today were explicitly built for the Games: that is the case of Cambio, an artistic installment, or the Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya (mostly known as INEFC for both Catalan and Spanish learners). 

The story behind the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium

It was initially built in 1929 during the International Exhibition, which aimed to present itself as a candidate for hosting the 1936 Olympic Games (a part of the People’s Olympiad, a protest against Berlin being the host city). Nevertheless, due to the outbreak of the Civil War, the German city was the one that welcomed the Games.

As we have previously named, it was almost totally renovated for the 1992 Olympic Games, but it was not until 1989 that it gained the “Olympic Stadium” status. Its field has seen several Spain’s national team matches and international concerts, for it has welcomed artists such as Madonna, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie, among many others. 

No matter where, no matter when, FC Barcelona considers its fans and, alongside the City Council, will provide the necessary measures to ensure the club’s famous cheer. From Les Corts to Montjuic, the team will have its crowd.