TQL Stadium Wins Global “Best Venue” Award

With a capacity of 26,000, FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium registers among the largest soccer-specific stadiums in Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer (MLS) team FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, designed by global design firm Populous, was named Best Venue of 2022 by the World Football Summit at an awards event this week in Madrid, Spain. The Best Venue award was one of 10 awards given to recognize achievements in various football industry fields.

“The design of TQL Stadium intentionally harnesses the energy of a dedicated fan base to bring a world-class soccer experience to Cincinnati,” commented MONDO STADIA, a publication that covers sporting venues. “The new, state-of-the-art venue boasts a striking presence, connecting two historic neighborhoods – Over the Rhine and the West End – and honoring the legacy of soccer in the Queen City through a progressive design and ambitious interpretation of a Cincinnati on the rise.”

“We built TQL Stadium to be a world-class MLS stadium which would proudly represent Cincinnati across the nation and on the world-stage,” explained Jeff Berding, co-CEO FC Cincinnati. “It is an honor to receive this prestigious global recognition. Cincinnati should be proud that TQL Stadium has been awarded Best Venue of 2022 at the World Football Summit.”

TQL Stadium was named Best Venue by a judging panel based on a range of areas, including:

  • Fan Experience
  • Technological advances
  • Match day operations
  • Personalized attention
  • Catering

Raising The Bar In Stadium Design

With a capacity of 26,000, TQL Stadium registers among the largest soccer-specific stadiums in the league, and its design harnesses Cincinnati’s energy to create a world-class soccer atmosphere.

“TQL Stadium serves not only as a home for FC Cincinnati but a canvas to express its evolving identity on a global stage,” said Jonathan Mallie, senior principal of Populous. “We worked closely with ownership to create a truly remarkable, one-of-a-kind stadium experience that will serve to raise the profile of the team, the league and the city. From the bold graphics of the programmable LED integrated façade to the continuity of the seating bowl and the wall of sound created by the safe standing supporters’ section on game day, the iconic experience of TQL Stadium will be unrivaled as it serves its electric fan base.”

FC Cincinnati
(Photo: Erik Schelkun/4th Floor Creative)

TQL StadiumFC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati

(Photo: Erik Schelkun/4th Floor Creative)

TQL Stadium is wrapped in over 500 mass-customized aluminum fins. When viewed from down Central Parkway, these elements create the stadium’s signature form: a singular twisting motion that signifies the tension between two teams about to take the pitch. When viewed straight on, they provide a glimpse into the stadium, fostering a heightened sense of anticipation for the match within.

At night, the exterior comes alive with a dynamic LED lighting system integrated into the leading edge of each aluminum element. The end result is a brilliant video display of color that showcases the club’s brand, atmospheric graphics, and match-day messaging to energize fans on their approach to the stadium.

Maximizing The Location

FC Cincinnati team owners intentionally chose a centrally located urban environment with connections to all corners of the city. West End and the nearby Over-The-Rhine (OTR) district are two of Cincinnati’s most historic neighborhoods, each with their own distinct characteristics and energy.

Among the many considerations informing the stadium’s orientation was the club’s passionate base of supporters. Their traditional march-to-the-match attracts thousands and arrives from the east. As a result, the stadium features an expansive East Plaza that faces OTR and serves as a front porch.

Once inside the stadium, a 360-degree continuous seating bowl puts all the focus on the pitch — similar to the sport’s most iconic European venues — and capitalizes on the energy the fans bring into the bowl. More than a thousand orange seats in the East stands form the imposing lion from the club’s crest, a design detail that FC Cincinnati fans voted for. Up above, 300,000-square-feet of canopy shields every seat from the elements. Combined with the continuous seating bowl, the sound and visual atmosphere is captured and maintained within the stadium — thus elevating the match day experience.

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TQL Stadium’s interiors tie the entire stadium together and offer distinct, high-end experiences. The stadium’s premium spaces, including four clubs, reflect the city’s rich architectural heritage, each in their own unique way.

“We created an experience at TQL Stadium that transcends the functional and technical aspects the building,” said Isabelle Rijnties, lead interior designer for the project. “By carefully considering how users will experience the space, we created an emotional connection to the event, building and city through interior details. While the seating bowl is where fans experience the raw energy of the live event, and considerable attention is paid to that element, the aesthetic of premium and public spaces further enriches the experience of every fan.”

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