The Štark Arena, formerly the Belgrade Arena, was officially opened on July 31, 2004. Its construction cost is estimated at €70 million.
In 1989, the city of Belgrade was chosen to host the 1994 Men’s World Basketball Championship. However, there was one condition for the city, it had to build a new modern basketball arena. The city government immediately launched a competition to find the best design for the new arena which was to have a capacity of 20,000 seats. The architect Vlada Slavica from Belgrade presented the best project.
In 1991, a site for the project was chosen, Blok 25 in Novi Beograd. However, the project was already becoming problematic. There were only 3 years before the 1994 Men’s World Basketball Championships to build this mega-structure which had to be done in record time. A team of 126 companies was formed to serve on the arena committee. Two architects were chosen to design the arena’s roof.
In 1992, construction began and the arena committee formed a partnership with the American company HOK Sport, which has a lot of experience in building sports arenas. As the conflicts and the separation of Yugoslavia began, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Serbia and HOK Sport stopped all cooperation with the arena committee. Even with this slowdown, the work on the Belgrade Arena continued.
In 1993, Serbia went through one of its darkest years in modern history. The country fell into record inflation rates, and due to sanctions and conflicts in Yugoslavia, Belgrade lost the right to host the 1994 Men’s World Basketball Championship.
The construction of the arena continued, however, it became slower because there was a lack of material and finally in 1995 the construction was completely stopped. Construction resumed in 1998 because the city was chosen to host the 1999 World Table Tennis Championships. At that time the roof was already taking shape, part of the facade was done and the interior was half complete. Again, Serbia lost the privilege to host the competition when the city was bombed by NATO forces in 1999.
After the change of government in Serbia in 2000 and the fall of all sanctions imposed on the country, the arena, under new management was completed in 2004 for the Diamond ball tournament and Belgrade finally got the right to host the 2005 European Basketball Championship.
The provisional permit for public use expired in early 2006, following a series of sporting events and concerts in 2005. Work on the fire protection system and automated elevator installation to meet European standards was completed by November 2006, while no events were held in the arena until then. Belgrade Arena received its permanent public use permit on November 4, 2006.
Latest Update - 24.09.2021