FC Cincinnati unveils Populous-designed West End Stadium

July 16, 2019

FC Cincinnati unveiled a new, progressive design today for its West End Stadium, which is scheduled to open in March 2021 and will be the future home of the Major League Soccer team. Inspired by the energy of the FC Cincinnati fan base, the new stadium exterior façade and continuity of the seating bowl will electrify and energize the FCC fan base and the Queen City through the use of 513 vertical fins with a one-of-a-kind LED lighting system which will allow unique motion sequences to be displayed. The tension of competition also takes an expressive architectural form through a singular twisting motion signifying the tension between two teams about to take to the pitch.

Drawing from this energy, the grand plaza staircase serves as a front porch, a place designed to welcome the FCC March to the Match and usher fan energy to the stadium. Once inside, the continuity of the seating bowl will capture a visual focus, sound and energy of the fans and is highlighted by the intimidating safe-standing section, The Bailey.

Designed by Populous and led by Senior Principal and lead designer Jonathan Mallie, the $250 million West End Stadium features an ambitious interpretation of Cincinnati on the rise.

“There’s a dedication and authenticity to soccer in Cincinnati that rivals any city in the U.S. Our design for FC Cincinnati harnesses the energy of the fans to create a world-class soccer atmosphere.”
– Jonathan Mallie, Populous Senior Principal and Lead Designer

Taking the club’s goal of creating an iconic and groundbreaking design for the city while prioritizing and amplifying the fan experience, Populous delivered a design that will stand alone among North American stadiums and take a place among the world’s most distinctive sporting venues.

“We are so proud of this incredible design that Populous has delivered to FC Cincinnati. It has been so well-thought and concepted, so carefully crafted. We believe it will stand as a true icon and unifying force in our city. Our deep passion for FC Cincinnati is to create a legacy in this city, contribute a positive impact on our community and help raise the profile of Cincinnati not only nationally, but also around the world. We believe that soccer, as the world’s game, is a true unifying force and can bring our region closer together. West End Stadium provides us a remarkable platform to continue pushing those goals even further and enhance our impact not only locally, but across the globe.”
– Carl H. Lindner III, FC Cincinnati CEO and Managing Owner

The stadium will truly be “The Jewel in the Queen City’s Crown” with unique design features including:


  • A complete, 360-degree canopy roof will cover every single seat in the stadium
  • A total of 513 vertical fins containing 2.5 miles of integrated lighting make up the building’s unique exterior form
  • Through a feature seen only on West End Stadium, a one-of-a-kind lighting system will allow unique motion sequences to be displayed on the stadium’s east-facing façade
  • The west-side façade will feature a more traditional, metal and glass aesthetic to create a smooth transition into the surrounding neighborhood
  • A total of six entrance gates will bring fans into the building at concourse level
  • The Grand Staircase rises 30 feet from Central Parkway, providing a grand entrance into the stadium and showcasing the club’s world-famous supporters march
  • The Mercy Health Plaza, located in the southeast corner of the stadium, will provide an acre of visible, accessible community programming space at the crossroads of two neighborhoods: the West End and Over-the-Rhine


  • Final seating capacity will be between 26,000 and 26,500, pending the final seating manifest
  • A 110-yard by 75-yard natural grass field
  • A central field tunnel that guides the teams out just inches from the fans
  • A total of 4,500 total premium seats in suites and premium clubs
    • 59 Suites, including 2 party suites and 3 three field-level suites, the most in MLS for a venue that does not also host an NFL team
    • Four distinct premium club areas, each with unique designs and amenities, varying hospitality options and different locations throughout the stadium
  • 3,100 safe-standing seats in The Bailey, the designated supporter’s section that encompasses the entire north end of the stadium at a dramatic 34-degree pitch
  • The upper mezzanine wraps around three sides of the stadium to completely enclose the bowl
  • Unrivaled sightlines with the closest seat just 15 feet and farthest seat 130 feet from the pitch
  • Two video boards and two LED ribbon scoreboards that wrap the mezzanine’s façade around the stadium

“As a Cincinnati native and life-long resident, I have nothing but pride knowing our West End Stadium will be a strong symbol of this city on the world stage. We firmly believe we’ve not only matched the league’s best, but pushed the bar further and will deliver a superior fan experience for our incredible fan base. West End Stadium was designed to showcase and harness that passion and create an extraordinary atmosphere and home-field advantage for our team.
– Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati President

The new home for FC Cincinnati at West End Stadium is the latest MLS stadium designed by Populous, combining tradition, community and innovation to create an unrivaled matchday experience. Other recent projects include Allianz Field and Tottenham Stadium each having debuted in 2019. For more information, visit our website or contact media@populous.com.


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