LDLC Arena: Lyon’s new, futuristic sports facility opens its doors
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LDLC Arena: Lyon’s new, futuristic sports facility opens its doors

The ASVEL basketball club has changed its home for EuroLeague games, moving from the historic Astroballe to this innovative, multi-purpose structure

Populous

LDLC Arena: Lyon’s new, futuristic sports facility opens its doors
By Eugenio Petrillo -

The LDLC Arena, a futuristic, multi-function sports facility in Lyon, is France’s largest indoor arena outside of Paris. It’s also one of the most advanced in Europe in terms of technological innovation and environmental sustainability.

Designed by Populous and located in the Lyon municipality of Villeurbanne, the LDLC Arena opened on November 23 last year with a EuroLeague match that saw French club ASVEL, the home team, narrowly lose to guests Bayern Monk. There were over 11,000 spectators in the stands.

The LDLC Arena isn’t solely intended for basketball. It’s also purpose designed to host tennis tournaments, conferences, concerts, and other events, with a capacity for over a hundred events per year. Located near the Groupama stadium, home of the Olympique Lyon soccer club, the facility is part of a plan to develop an entertainment and retail zone to serve the entire region.

LDLC Arena (ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne vs Bayern Monaco 23/11/2023) Photo by Joël Philippon, courtesy of Populous and Jump Studios

 

LDLC: ASVEL’s new home for EuroLeague matches

Since they typically provide improved conditions for watching sports events, the opening of a new sports facility is a cause for celebration for fans, spectators and enthusiasts. This was certainly the case with the inauguration of the LDLC Arena, the new home of ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne for its EuroLeague matches.

The structure was designed to accommodate between 6000 and 16,000 spectators. Its innovative modular seating system optimizes the view from every seat, bringing fans as close to the action as possible. Including Sky Boxes and the Grand Salon VIP, the facility incorporates a series of hospitality services intended to bring fans together before games and entertain them afterwards. The interiors of these spaces, as well as the athlete changing rooms, the artist dressing rooms, and the office areas, were designed by Jump Studios, a division of Populous that deals with interior design in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The project was keenly focused on sustainability and respect for the environment. The arena has a 59,200 sq.ft. (5500 m2) photovoltaic array on the roof, while almost a third of the total surface area is green space. The building itself is encased in an innovative double skin that helps regulate inside temperatures and, therefore, minimizes reliance on active HVAC systems.

LDLC Arena Rendering by and courtesy of Populous and Jump Studios

 

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From Astroballe to the Populous-designed multiuse arena

ASVEL is one of the most important basketball clubs in France. Established in 1948, it has won 21 French championships, 10 French cups, and has a permanent license to participate in the EuroLeague, Europe’s top competition. ASVEL was already the most successful team in the history of French basketball when former French NBA superstar Tony Parker first invested in the club in 2009. The team’s fortunes changed radically in 2014, however, when Parker became president and set up the Tony Parker Adéquat Academy. Since then, investments and sponsorships have gone from strength to strength, to the point that ASVEL is now a fixed presence at a European level. In 2016, Parker announced plans for the new arena, which have now become a reality.

Leaving the historic Astroballe Arena for the new LDLC Arena has catapulted ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne into the future. Construction was financed by the wealthy Olympique Lyon, France’s number-one soccer team, to the tune of some 140 million euros. Both clubs needed the facility: in ASVEL’s case, as a home basketball arena on a European level, and, for OL, to provide additional space on top of its Groupama stadium.

LDLC Arena Rendering by and courtesy of Populous and Jump Studios
 

In 2021, an agreement was signed with IT firm and ASVEL sponsor LDLC for the naming rights. Work on the foundations was completed in February 2022, the rough structure was completed a year later, and the roof was finally added. The facility was inaugurated for the ASVEL-Bayern Munich EuroLeague match on Thursday, November 23, 2023, three weeks ahead of the scheduled handover date of December 13.

The opening of the arena is the final chapter in Tony Parker’s plan to establish ASVEL as a European powerhouse. Over the years, many important players have donned the club’s black and white colors, from Nando De Colo to NBA phenomenon Victor Wembanyama, Casper Were, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Theo Maledon. In late October, ASVEL received an injection of Italian blood when the eccentric Gianmarco Pozzecco, current full-time head coach of Italy’s national team, was appointed head coach. According to recent reports in the French media, however, the team is already intending to fire him, even though he’s contracted through June 2025.

 

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Credits

Location: Lyon, France
Completion: 2023
Client: Olympique Lyonnais Groupe
Architect: Populous
Interior Design: Jump Studios

Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the credits


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