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Top Facts about Nef Stadium, Home of Galatasaray

Thu 12 May 2022 | 4:30

Nef Stadium, which is officially known as the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi or Nef Stadyumu, is a football stadium serving as the home of the Süper Lig team Galatasaray S.K. In this article, we will take a look at top facts about Nef Stadium.

Nef Stadium is situated in the Seyrantepe quarter of the Sarıyer district, in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey. The Nef Stadium, which is an all-seater stadium, has the capacity to host 52,280 people during football matches. The Nef Stadium is one of the properties of the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex.

Top Facts about Nef Stadium, Home of Galatasaray

One of the

top facts about Nef Stadium

is that it was the first stadium in Turkey that met the UEFA Euro 2016 necessities throughout the country's bid to host the European Championship. 

In 2011, the stadium was one of the six candidates for the Venue of the Year and New Venue categories of the Stadium Business Awards. Galatasaray S.K. managed to lift the Süper Lig in the first season at Nef Stadium. 

Nef Stadium quick information

  • Full name:

    Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, NEF Stadyumu

  • Former names:

    Türk Telekom Arena (2011–2017), Türk Telekom Stadium (2017–2021), Nef Stadium (2021–present)

  • Location:

    Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey

  • Public transit:

    Seyrantepe

  • Owner:

    Galatasaray S.K.

  • Operator:

    Galatasaray S.K.

  • Executive suites:

    198

  • Capacity:

    52,652 (2011–2013), 52,280 (all-seater)

  • Record attendance:

     52,044 (Galatasaray–Real Madrid, 9 April 2013)

  • Field size:

    105 m × 68 m (115 yd × 74 yd)

  • Acreage:

    190,000 m²

  • Surface:

    Grass (2011–2018), SISGrass

  • Scoreboard size:

    2 x 77,41m²

  • Broke ground:

    13 December 2007 (14 years ago)

  • Built:

    2007–2011

  • Opened:

    15 January 2011; 11 years ago

  • Construction cost:

    250 million dollars (288 million in 2020 dollars)

  • Architect:

    'asp' architekten Stuttgart

  • Structural engineer:

    İz Mühendislik, Yüksel Proje, Schlaich Bergermann & Partner

  • Services engineer:

    OBERMEYER: Planungsgesellschaft

  • Main contractors:

    Varyap-Uzunlar

  • Tenants:

    Galatasaray S.K. (2011–present), Turkey national football team (selected matches)

  • Website:

    www.nefstadyumu.com

Nef Stadium history

Football was first played in Istanbul by British footballers on a field known as Papazın Çayırı (meaning "Priest's Field") in a place that is now the site of Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoğlu Stadium.

With the inauguration of the Taksim Stadium in 1921, it was this new stadium that became the new football field. In the metropolitan expansion of 1939, the military barracks in which the Taksim Stadium was located was destroyed in 1940.

During this period,

Fenerbahçe

bought the land surrounding Papazın Cayiri and built the Fenerbahçe Stadium, while the Besiktas Club moved into the Şeref Stadium, placed in the area where today's Cıragan Palace Hotel stands. But Galatasaray had the main problem with the use of a football stadium in that period.

The first steps to solve the problem were taken in the early years of the 1930s. The first initiative to acquire a plan of land for Galatasaray was in 1933, when the then president of the team Ali Haydar Barşal showed an attention in Mecidiyeköy.

In the period from 1933 to 1935, talks with the government resulted in the provision of a plot of land outside of the city limits in Mecidiye Köyü for a stadium to be constructed for Galatasaray.

Excavations for the building started in 1936. The President of the Turkish Sports Organization at the time, Adnan Menderes, financially supported project. Though, the efforts were left in the excavation phase.

In 1940, the problem of the stadium appeared again under the presidency of Tevfik Ali Cinar. The same plot of land was leased to

Galatasaray

for a period of 30 years at an annual rental fee of 1 lira.

Accordingly, Galatasaray acquired the right to the use of the land. In leasing the land, Galatasaray had to construct a modern stadium in addition to a bicycle velodrome.

However, the building could not start due to limited resources and the general atmosphere of the war. In 1943, Osman Dardağan led an initiative to construct a modest stadium that would respond to the immediate necessity.

In the condition of war, only a small open tribune was used in the stadium, which was set on a field of earth and inaugurated under the presidency of Muslihittin Peykoğlu in 1945.

Nevertheless, its distance from the city centre in those days, its unreachability by public transportation, and the rough winds that characterized the district were issues that contributed to a long period in which the stadium would remain unused and football matches was never held.

When the İnönü Stadium in the centre of the city was opened in that period of time, Galatasaray abandoned the stadium building project in Mecidiyeköy, putting the project aside before completion.

In 1955, 30 more years were added to the right of use contract, which at the time had 22 years to go, extending the terms until 2007. When the team failed to carry out the building of the stadium, the project was taken on by the Physical Education General Directorate.

The building started in 1959. In 1961, during the presidency of Refik Selimoğlu, a new contract was signed with the Physical Education General Directorate, and the utilization rights of the recently finalised stadium were openly given to Galatasaray.

The Nef Stadium was opened on an exciting 20 December 1964. In the middle of the extreme crowds present, fright broke out, resulting in the death of one spectator and 80 others were injured.

One of the top facts about Nef Stadium is that the stadium was illuminated for the first time in 1965. In spite of this, a few matches were played at night. In the early 1970s, the Nef Stadium was abandoned for another period when the İnönü Stadium began to be used again.

In the 1970s, the stadium was regularly used by Galatasaray for training the team.

In 1981, the grass was planted and the stadium was opened once again. The lighting system was improved in 1993 and night matches began to be held once more. In the same year, the system of combined tickets was initiated in

Turkey

at the Nef Stadium.

In 1997, the Galatasaray management assigned a Canadian architectural company for the task of designing Turkey's first multi-function, modern stadium to be constructed in place of the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, which was planned to be deconstructed.

Nef Stadium and the new stadium projects

The new stadium plan began in 1998 and it attracted wide interest. The suggested capacity was 40,484. But, the mayor and the government did not allow a stadium to be built.

The authorities objected other proposals until 2007. In fact, the search for funding for the new stadium that would be constructed on this new plot continued over the period of 2004–07.

In 2007, negotiations with government authorities regarding the building of a new Galatasaray stadium in Aslantepe had positive results. It was decided that the new stadium would be constructed within two years on the new land plot that would be transferred to Galatasaray football club, in exchange for the team's property in Mecidiyeköy on which the Ali Sami Yen Stadium stood.

In late 2007, ten years after the initial proclamation of the project in 1997, the groundbreaking for the new stadium was carried out on 13 December 2007 at an event attended by state officials.

In 2009, the building of the new stadium, the Nef Stadium, was carried out more quickly when the contracting company was changed. In 2010, it was publicised that the official inaugural of the new stadium would be on 15 January 2011, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Nonetheless, in the opening ceremony, he was opposed by fans of Galatasaray.

Nef Stadium auction procedure

Galatasaray have been in collaboration with TOKİ. It is one of the largest construction organizations in Turkey, supported by the government of Turkey.

Amongst the four companies that offered proposals, the top offer was put forward by the Eren Talu Architecture – ALKE Partnership. The agreement for the tender held for the building of Galatasaray's new stadium was agreed upon between TOKİ and Eren Talu-ALKE consortium on 23 October 2007.

The agreement of the tender was realized by TOKİ and came to be known as the "Aslantepe Tender", covering the construction of a multi-purpose sports complex with 52,652 capacity on Aslantepe grounds in return for building "Urban Social Infrastructure Areas" on 34.640 sq metres of land on which the present Ali Sami Yen Stadium is situated.

Groundbreaking ceremony

On 13 December 2007, the construction publicly started after a showy reception where the club's board, some players, the minister of sports for Turkey and many other officials attended.

In the ceremony, then President Özhan Canaydın said, in summary: "The Turkish World of Sports will gain another big facility with the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex and we've gathered here to celebrate its groundbreaking ceremony. This work, which will be a value add to Istanbul and Turkey along with Turkish Sports, will also serve as an honorable monument that will signify the advanced position Turkish Sports has achieved and the phases it has passed through."

Nef Stadium name

The naming rights were sold to Türk Telekom for a spell of 10 years for 10.25 million dollars a year. The stadium officially replaced the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in 2010–2011 season of Turkey league, under the name of Türk Telekom Arena. North tribune's name of the stadium was sold to Pegasus Airlines for 4 million euros annually. The agreement ended in October 2013. 

The naming rights of the first tier of the east tribune of Türk Telekom Stadium were also sold to Ülker for 2 million dollars annually and was named Ülker Family Tribune. Also, all 198 suites and 4,844 VIP seats naming rights were sold to Denizbank for three years.

NEF Sponsorship name

On 11 October 2021, in the statement made by Galatasaray Sports Club, it was publicised that a stadium name sponsorship contract would be made with the design and innovation brand Nef.

In the new announcement made on 12 October 2021, a sponsorship and advertising promotion agreement concerning stadium naming rights worth 725.000.000 Turkish Liras + VAT for an amount of 10 (5+5) seasons was signed between Galatasaray Sports Club and Timur Şehircilik Planning A.Ş.

On 12 October, at the press conference held at the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex  2021, Galatasaray and Nef signed the biggest stadium naming sponsorship contract in Turkish sports history.

The press launch of the agreement, which took place at the newly named Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex Nef Stadium, was held attended by Burak Elmas, President of Galatasaray Sports Club, and Erden Timur, Chairperson of the Nef Board of Directors.

Concerts at Nef Stadium

One of the

top facts about Nef Stadium

is that it has also hosted concerts with a capacity for more than 70,000 attendees. Bon Jovi was the first band to perform at Nef Stadium on 8 July 2011.

The second artist at the Nef Stadium was Madonna, who performed on 7 June 2012 as part of her MDNA Tour. She played in front of 47,789 attendees at the venue.

Nef Stadium surroundings

Aslanlı Yol:

One of the top facts about Nef Stadium is that from the Seyrantepe Metro Station just east of the stadium, people approach the stadium through a road named Aslanlı Yol, which was designed to disentangle and direct them to the gates. It is 200 metres long and 45 metres wide. One can find Ticket sales, Simit Sarayı Restaurant and Yüzevler Restaurant at the Aslanlı Yol.

Aslantepe GSStore:

A novel GS Store opened near the stadium on 7 February 2012. It has a similar construction and was designed by Galatasaray S.K. project coordinator Coşkun Peküstün and the architect Ayşegül Uslu. It has been built in a 950 square metres area and the floor area is 1,650 square metres. It has two floors, although the first floor is used for the retail, the second the Ülker Fan Zone.

How to go to Nef Stadium

Public transport:

One of the top facts about Nef Stadium is that it is served by a number of bus lines and the line of Metro M2, which runs from the Sanayi Mahallesi Station to Seyrantepe at the Nef Stadium.

Car:

The Nef Stadium is located close to the Otoyol 2 highway. Four four-story parking lots are located with 3,225 (3,025 covered and 200 open) parking slots. Furthermore, there are also 28 places available for buses at the west entrance.

How to pay at Nef Stadium

Galatasaray S.K provides GS Bonus Card which is the stadium card used for payments and can also be used as a credit card. Also, Unified RFID cards are used as season tickets at the stadium. Visitors can use the card for all services at the Nef Stadium.

On 12 March 2019, Galatasaray and DenizBank began a significant collaboration which is the foundation of the cash-free payment period at Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex Nef Stadium for the first time in Turkey.

Therefore, football fans are able to make payments through fastPay, the first digital wallet in Turkey. So, shopping at the stadium, the stores and the snack bars around the Nef Stadium and at the GS Store, can be simply and safely done without having to pay in cash.

Records at Nef Stadium 

Attendance:

 The maximum attendance recorded at Nef Stadium was 52,044 for an UEFA Champions League quarter-final game between Galatasaray and Real Madrid CF on 9 April 2013.

The maximum attendance for a Süper Lig game is 51,983, between Galatasaray S.K. and 

Trabzonspor

 on 18 May 2013.

The highest attendance for a non-competitive match is 40,000, on 15 January 2011 for a pre-season friendly match between Galatasaray and 

AFC Ajax

.

The highest crowd for a Türkiye Kupası game is 31,930, set on 2 March 2011, when Galatasaray played in a match against Gaziantepspor.

The highest attendance for a national team game is 49,532, set on 7 October 2011, when Turkey and Germany played at the Nef Stadium.

The highest attendance for a concert at the Nef Stadium is 47,789, set on 7 June 2012, when Madonna performed a concert as part of her MDNA Tour.

Loudest crowd:

One of the top facts about Nef Stadium is that on 18 March 2011, the Nef Stadium recorded 131.76 decibels which was regarded to be the world record for "loudest roar of crowd at a sports stadium" in Guinness World Records.

The record has since then been raised by NFL American football matches starting on 15 September 2013 at CenturyLink Field in a Seattle Seahawks match that reached 136.6 decibels. Also, on 13 October 2013, at Arrowhead Stadium in a Kansas City Chiefs match that reached 137.5 dB, again at CenturyLink Field on 2 December 2013, with 137.6 decibels; and reclaimed by Arrowhead Stadium on 29 September 2014, in a match that reached 142.2 decibels.

A match in the heavy snow at Nef Stadium

On 10 December 2013, a UEFA Champions League match between Galatasaray and 

Juventus

 had to be abandoned due to heavy snow in the 32nd minute with the score 0–0, the remaining minutes of the match were played the next day in which Galatasaray defeated Bianconeri 1-0.

Nef Stadium in a novel

One of the

top facts about Nef Stadium

is that the stadium and Galatasaray S.K. were mentioned in the first chapter of the novel Threat Vector written by Tom Clancy's 2012.

Important Matches and tournaments at Nef Stadium

One of the top facts about Nef Stadium is that it is one of the main home stadiums of the Turkish national Football team.

Moreover, Nef Stadium was one of the venues for the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. However, due to sponsorship contracts, the stadium was called Ali Sami Yen Arena during the World Cup. Eleven games were played at the stadium during the World Cup of 2013.

 

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