In 2026, the Estadio Azteca in Mexico will host its third World Cup Finals in a joint effort between Mexico, Canada and the USA. In preparation for the event and to welcome back LigaMX as soccer returns, stadium owners Televisa are making a variety of improvements across the entire facility, including relocating the dugout and player benches and constructing a new state-of-the-art canopy.
As detailed in a blog post by Populous who designed the dugout and canopy, it describes how it was relocated from the west side of the pitch to the east to accommodate the new camera positions within the bowl. As part of the design, the new players’ bench sits partly beneath pitch level, allowing perfect views of the action for those fans seated directly behind the dugout.
The new canopy was inspired by the original tessellation on the Telstar and Azteca soccer balls designed and used during the previous 1970 and 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Populous incorporated the hexagonal and pentagonal patterns into the design of the new dugout canopy that fans across the globe will immediately recognize as belonging to Mexico and the Azteca Stadium. The manufacturer that provided the PTFE fabric used on the exterior of Allianz Field in Minnesota also produced and installed the ETFE polymer material used to create the new canopy. The air-filled pillows simultaneously protect players and officials from the elements while providing spectators and television cameras a clear view of the action through the transparent material.
The design of modern dugouts for international soccer must cater to the highest expectations of FIFA and elite players, and the new Azteca dugout is no exception.
“The new dugout and canopy feature luxury padded car-style sports chairs, data and power points throughout, and programmable LED lighting within the canopy structure that illuminates to celebrate any goal or occasion,” Reeves noted. “It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience for fans and players alike.”
All photogrpahs are courtesy of Televisa