Vodafone Arena, also known as Vodafone Park is a colosseum shaped, all-seater, multi-purpose stadium located in Besiktas district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is the home ground for Besiktas J.K., a Turkish sports club.
The stadium was built on the site of BJK Inonu Stadium, which had been the home of the club since 1947.
There is an old and traditional road near the stadium and almost 30,000 fans walk along the road to reach the stadium. Wherever they come from, they don't go straight to the stadium. Rather, they come along that road and then walk to the stadium. It's kind of a ritual performed by Besiktas’ fans before every home match.
Having opened on 11 April 2016, Vodafone Arena is not a very old stadium. However, BJK Inonu Stadium, the stadium on which Vodafone Arena was built comprises a rich history.
The first foundation stone of this 70 years old stadium was laid on 19 May 1939, but the construction had to be stopped because of the second World War. It was inaugurated later on 19 May 1947 and first match was played between Besiktas J.K. and AIK Stockholm of Sweden, on 27 November 1947.
After renovation of the old stadium, the inauguration match in Vodafone Arena was played between Besiktas and Bursaspor. Besiktas had won the match by 3-2 with the help of the goals from its star players Mario Gomez and Alexis. The very first goal in the Vodafone Arena was scored by Mario Gomez in the 22nd minute of the match.
In a second leg game of Europa League knockout phase between Beşiktaş and Hapoel Be'er Sheva, the hosts won by 5-2 on aggregate.
The quarter-final match of the UEFA Europa Cup was also played on this venue between Besiktas and Lyon. The match put everyone at the edge of their seats till the last second as the home team lost to Lyon by 7-6 on penalties.
In the group matches of 2016 UEFA Champions League, Beşiktaş took Dynamo Kiev, Napoli and Benfica at this venue but all the matches ended up on a draw.
After the Besiktas’ victory over Bursaspor in December 2016, two bombs exploded outside the stadium, targeting the riot police bus.
The explosion killed 38 police officers, eight citizens and left 136 people injured. Turkish media reported that people also witnessed the gunshots after the explosions.
On 21 November 2017, a group stage match of Champions League was held here between Besiktas and FC Porto.
In December 2017, Besiktas beat arch rivals Galatasaray by 3-0 in a match of Turkish Super Lig.
Another major match of Champions League will be played on this ground between Beşiktaş and Bayern München on 14 March 2018. According to UEFA officials, stadium will host UEFA Super Cup Final in 2019 which will be the biggest match since its inauguration in 2016.