The O2 Arena in Prague is one of Europe’s most modern multi-functional arenas, and is also home to the Czech Extraliga team HC Slavia Praha. Tickets when HC Slavia play cost from 150 CZK and up. There are three games a week throughout the season, from September to May, so you should be able to catch a game.
It is Prague’s main venue for all kinds of sports, culture, entertainment, exhibitions, fairs and other events. The idea of building such a huge magnificent arena came after a golden era of ice hockey when Czech teams won four gold medals in a row. The arena was formerly known as Sazka Arena and was renamed in March 2008.
The O2 Arena can accommodate up to 1.5-1.8 million visitors a year. The Arena has a capacity for 18,000 spectators, 2,460 Club and Luxury seats, 66 Skyboxes, 4 Party Boxes, and 2,900 places in bars, restaurants and cafés.
Facilities include a huge video cube, a closed circuit TV system, display panels and state-of-the-art acoustics, with hi-tech illumination.
There are extensive shopping areas with comprehensive facilities and a great variety of bars and restaurants, as well as prestigious areas for press conferences, workshops and congresses.
The Universal Hall was built for smaller and more commercial events. The total capacity of the Universal Hall, connected to the neighbouring arena by a pedestrian corridor, is about 2,300 seats.
The Universal Hall is used for events such as film and theatre performances, discotheques, balls, dance shows, sports races, concerts, meetings, conferences and congresses, fashion shows, TV programmes, gala evenings, banquets, exhibitions and fairs.
The Arena hosted the Final Four of the Euro league in 2006. It has also hosted a number of concerts since its opening, including Madonna, Depeche Mode, R.E.M., Queen, Luciano Pavarotti, Phil Collins, Slade, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Coldplay, Vanessa Mae, Guns N’ Roses, Pearl Jam, Bryan Adams, Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Celine Dion, Linkin Park, Gwen Stefani and many others.
Problems with construction
The original idea was to build the Arena in time to host the 2003 World Ice Hockey Championship, but due to problems with investors and surprisingly with distrust of the government, it was finished a year later in 2004. Due to that, the Czech ice hockey governing body had to switch that tournament to Finland. The Arena’s main backer then became Sazka as (a Czech betting company) but at present it is 02 (the mobile company). Many criticised the whole idea, especially various parts of the media, but most critics have changed their minds and praised it when it was finished.
Future of the Arena
O2 Arena should be enhanced in the future by the Green Island multipurpose centre comprising an international hotel, congress centre, shopping and office areas, including a multi-storey car park and extensive public park.
Getting there: The Arena is easily accessible by private car as well as by public transport. Ceskomoravska Metro, a bus terminal, tram stop and a railway station are just a few minutes’ walk from the arena. Address: Ocelarska 2, Prague 9, website.