The Estadio Nacional del Perú (National Stadium of Peru) is a 40,000-capacity, multipurpose stadium located in Lima. The stadium serves as the home of soccer in Peru (being the home ground of the national team), as well as a venue for major music concerts.
History of the Peruvian Soccer Stadium
From 1897 to 1951, the Estadio Guadalupe (later named the Stadium Nacional) served as the main soccer ground in the Peruvian capital. In the early 1950’s, with Peru set to host the 1953 South American Championship, this small wooden-stand stadium was deemed inadequate.
The old stadium was demolished to make way for a grand new project: the construction of the 53,000-capacity Estadio Nacional. The new stadium was inaugurated on October 27, 1952, a day on which fans in the new concrete stands were able to watch an exhibition match between members of the Peruvian national team (it was an evening kick-off, providing a good opportunity to use the stadium’s new floodlight system).
Following the Estadio Nacional tragedy of 1964 -- a riot within and outside the stadium that left more than 300 dead and thousands injured -- the stadium capacity was reduced to 42,000.
The Estadio Nacional has undergone a number of renovations and improvements over the years, partly to keep up with stadium requirements set down by CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation) and FIFA.
The last and most dramatic remodeling of the stadium began in 2010. The project was initially budgeted at 29 million nuevos soles (US$11 million), but the final cost was in the region of 200 million. The stadium was re-inaugurated on July 24, 2011; investigations continue as to where exactly all the money went.
Despite the huge overspend -- or maybe because of it -- the renovated stadium is looking good. It may not be the largest stadium in Peru (that honor goes to Estadio Monumental, home ground to Universitario de Deportes), but it is the most advanced.
The Peruvian national soccer team plays most of its major home games at the Estadio Nacional. If you want to watch Peru play soccer, this is probably where you’ll go. The stadium also acts as a home venue for other sports in Peru, including boxing, taekwondo and volleyball.
Alternative spectacles hosted by the Estadio Nacional include WWE wrestling tours and major music concerts. Major concerts from the last few years include REM, Carlos Santana, Phil Collins, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Justin Bieber. Two of the most anticipated concerts of 2014 -- Metallica and One Direction -- are also set to take place at the Nacional.
Estadio Nacional Location
The Estadio Nacional is located in the Santa Beatriz area of central Lima, not far from the city’s historic center and the Plaza de Armas. The Paseo de la Republica runs along the east side, with the Parque de la Exposición immediately to the north and the Parque de la Reserva (home to the Magic Water Circuit) to the south. You’ll sometimes hear the Estadio Nacional referred to as “El Coloso de José Díaz,” in reference to the street of the same name that loops around the north end of the stadium.