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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Antalyaspor are a Turkish Super League soccer club based in the holiday region and city of Antalya and the club have recently preceded their name with that of the club’s sponsor Medical Park. The hotbed of football in Turkey is Istanbul which boasts the country’s two biggest club sides in Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. Both of these sides attract large crowds and are a big draw when playing at other clubs in the country.
Antalyaspor however are not so fortunate and have played at three different stadiums in the past few years in an attempt to attract bigger crowds. Their spiritual home is the Ataturk Stadium in the centre of the city, but the ground is old and facilities outdated. The club then moved to the newly built Marden Sports Complex on the outskirts of the city which was where I was expecting to watch my chosen game against Sivasspor. Fortunately due to my in depth planning, I was able to find out in advance that they are playing at the Akdeniz Universitesi Stayumu (Mediterranean University Stadium) for two seasons in an attempt to bolster attendances.
The stadium is located on the University campus within the city and was built in 2012. It is a multi-purpose three sided venue with an all seated capacity of 7,100 and is typical of many athletics stadiums that attempt to host soccer. The stadium’s main facilities are housed in the Rixos Tribune, which is a two tiered structure with the area to the right of the stand behind the goal just containing an electronic scoreboard therefore making the stadium a three sided venue. The curved tribune to the left is the area where home supporters congregate and opposite the Rixos Tribune is another two tiered structure giving good views of the playing area.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is not much to write up about here with catering facilities inside the stadium being very poor. Within the main stand there were two counters that sold only sandwiches, popcorn, tea, coffee and Coke. Small stalls selling sweets and chocolate were located just outside the stadium.
Having been to top flight soccer in most European countries, I was very disappointed with the atmosphere on this occasion. Turkey is renowned for having stadiums with hostile atmospheres so I can only put this down to the stadium being primarily an athletics venue. To be fair, the end of the stadium where the home fans congregated was noisy and they do their best to make the experience a good one. However I would be very surprised if the club remains here for long as basically it is a soulless stadium.
The city of Antalya and its surrounding areas are one of Turkey's top holiday destinations and attract thousands of tourists every year. We stayed in the resort of Side where there are plenty of hotels to choose from. The Saray Regency Resort & Spa was our preferred choice. Side is just under a one hour drive from Antalya and fares can be negotiated with Taxi drivers. Antalya is a historic city with plenty to offer before a game. The Migros Shopping centre is the biggest in the area and near to the stadium. The Shakespeare Café within the centre can be recommended for Turkish Teas, Coffees and food. There are plenty of other options including the familiar Starbucks and McDonalds. Despite not being on the Euro, prices in Turkey are dear and fuel is even more expensive than in Britain.
As expected, the hard core 4,000 plus Antalyaspor supporters are noisy and good entertainment value with their constant movement and dancing during the entire 90 minutes. Most of them wear replica tops and plenty of drummers are also evident. There are no local rivals as such, but games against any of Istanbul's top teams are likely to be the most looked forward to games.
The stadium is located within the University Sports Complex. Taxis will drop you at the complex entrance and it is then a ten minute walk to the stadium. Car parking is available free of charge in the nearby streets. Antalya International Airport is a ten minute drive away.
Tickets to games are available through Bilitex and are priced at 20, 100, and 150 Turkish Lire. We purchased 100 Lire tickets (approx. Ł35) which gave us seats in the outer wings of the main stand. This is on par with English Premier League prices although tickets are much cheaper if you are prepared to rough it in the noisy end behind the goal. The seats were also dusty so be prepared to take a cloth or get your trousers dirty.
There are no extras other than a free match day programme on your seat that warrants a mention. There was one stall on the approach to the stadium selling replica shirts and club scarfs. The club's website is adequate but not of the same standard of other top level clubs.
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