March 30, 2021

2020’s Stadium of the Year Top 10 includes Two of Qatar’s Finest

A recent poll by* gave the general public and a jury of architectural experts the opportunity to evaluate and rank new stadiums, opened in 2020, in order of excellence. Twenty stadiums were in the running for the Top 10 spots, and two of Qatar's brand new constructions registered on both the public’s favourite and the expert panels top choices lists. And no wonder…

The Stadiums

Completed and inaugurated in 2020, Qatar’s Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and Education City Stadium are awe-inspiring edifices that will host thousands as they watch the action unfold at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in less than two years time. Each stadium was conceived with more than the 2022 tournament in mind. The design of each reflects elements of Qatari heritage and culture, the surrounding landscape and the local population. Each is a blend of tradition and modernity. And, both have been constructed to meet the short and long term needs of local people, the nation and the environment using innovation and state-of-the-art technologies. 

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium:

  • Location - Al Rayyan
  • Capacity - 40,000
  • Inaugurated - December 18th 2020
  • Design - Mirrors the natural desert landscape 
  • Innovation
    • 80% of construction materials reused or recycled,
    • State-of-the-art and low carbon cooling system,
    • Energy and water-efficient,
    • Controlled by Smart Building System.
  • Legacy - when the 2022 tournament is complete, the stadium will be transformed:
    • 20,000 seats to be removed and donated to football development projects overseas,
    • Home to Al Rayyan Football Club,
    • Sports complex for the local population.
  • Environmental Rating - 4-Star Global Sustainability Assessment System rating (GSAS - performance-based sustainable certification system for rating green buildings and infrastructure).

Education CityStadium:

  • Location - Education City
  • Capacity - 40,000
  • Inaugurated - June 15th 2020
  • Design - Inspired by Islamic architecture 
  • Innovation
    • 55% of construction materials from sustainable sources and 28% with recycled content,
    • Thermally efficient and reflective cladding reduce solar heating gains,
    • State-of-the-art and low carbon cooling system,
    • Energy and water efficient,
    • Controlled by Smart Building System.
  • Legacy - when the 2022 tournament is complete, the stadium will be transformed:
    • 20,000 seats to be removed and donated to football development projects overseas,
    • Offices and shops for local businesses,
    • Sports complex including golf course for the local population.
  • Environmental Rating - 5-Star GSAS rating

To Qataris, the stadiums of the World Cup signify more than individual sports arenas. The stadiums are evidence of the country's success, global acceptance and integration, modern sporting prowess, and the people's health and well-being. For Ahmad bin Ali and Education City stadiums in particular, that were completed and inaugurated amid a global pandemic, they represent the nation's ability to thrive and succeed in times of crisis and during times of prosperity and tranquillity. Winning awards and accolades are just the icing on the cake!

The Awards

Organised by StadiumDB, the Stadium of the Year award is a double-award that recognises the value of newly opened stadiums for the year in contention, both from a public perspective and a panel of architectural experts.

The awards have been running for over ten years. The public vote on stadiums is the world’s largest and is based purely on public opinion. The second is an honour awarded by a jury of architectural experts who grade finalists, who are shortlisted from all entries in an initial round, based on the architectural value, functionality and innovative aspects of the construction. It is worth noting that Qatar’s Al Janoub Stadium took 3rd place in the public vote and 4th place in the jury’s vote in 2019.

This year’s nominees included: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Qatar), Allegiant Stadium (USA), Batumi Stadium (Georgia), Bloomfield Stadium (Israel), Brentford Community Stadium (UK), Çorum Şehir Stadyumu (Turkey), Education City Stadium (Qatar), Estadio Tierra de Campeones (Chile), Gürsel Aksel Stadyumu (Turkey), Inter Miami CF Stadium (USA), Kanseki Stadium Tochigi (Japan), Lynn Family Stadium (USA), Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Australia), Sanga Stadium by KYOCERA (Japan), SoFi Stadium (US), Stade de la Tuilière (Switzerland), Stade National de la Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Stadionul Francisc von Neuman (Romania), Sultan Ibrahim Stadium (Malaysia) and Xi’an OSC Stadium (China).

The Public Favourites

In the public vote, in which the most popular stadiums were ranked 1 to 20, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium was placed 3rd in the rankings and Education City in 4th place

The votes were counted from over 100 countries and territories, with most votes coming from Europe, Asia, and America. Qatar's stadiums came only behind the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Malaysia and the Allegiant Stadium in the USA. They gained a more significant number of votes than new stadiums in Turkey, Georgia, America, Israel, China, Africa, Switzerland, Romania, Japan, England, Australia and Chile.

The Experts Choices

The experts' vote, conducted separately from the public vote, was based on three categories - architectural value, functionality and innovation. The 20 stadiums in contention were shortlisted to 10, and cumulative points awarded for each category used to decide on the final ranking. This year's vote was a close run thing...

With a total of 63% (out of 100%), Education City was awarded 6th place in the final ranking. Ahmad bin Ali was awarded 9th place on 57.5%. 

Taking first place in the awards was the SoFi Stadium in the USA who topped the rankings with 73.5%. Close behind was the Stade de la Tuiliere Stadium in Switzerland with 72%, the Xi'an Stadium in China with 69.5%, the Batumi Stadium in Georgia with 67.5% and the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Malaysia with 64.5%

The 2021 Stadium of the Year Awards

Looking ahead to next year, Qatar can look forward to entering Al Bayt Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Lusail Stadium and Ras Abu Aboud Stadium - all winners in their own right!

is a stadium information platform. It provides up to date details (design and operational information) on stadia around the world - those under construction, existing venues and historical sites. It also offers a host of stadium-related news and articles, rankings and listings based on history, records and other specific criteria, and organises the Stadium of the Year award.

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Published: March 30, 2021
Last updated: March 30, 2021
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