The Estadio Gasómetro is an Argentinian stadium that belongs to the Club San Lorenzo de Almagro. Historically there have been two stadiums: the Old Gasómetro, now demolished, and the New Gasómetro, the former was located in the city of Buenos Aires on Avenida de La Plata, the latter on the current Avenida Perito Moreno and Varela.
As for the old stadium, it had a capacity of 75,000 spectators, making it the largest stadium in the whole of Argentina. The Viejo Gasómetro on Inclán and Las Casas streets was located in Almagro, which would be the current Boedo neighbourhood. Its official inauguration was in 1916, when Club Atlético San Lorenzo won, by two goals to one, against their rival Estudiantes de La Plata.
In 1929, with the stadium still under construction and without an official name, the South American Championship was played.
Why is it called the Gasometer Stadium?
Its name honours the large metal structure used in its construction and its similarity to the structures of the old gas tanks. The population began to call it the Gasómetro, a name that has survived to this day in the new facilities. The historic stadium was never lucky enough to have an official name, but its memory remains at the heart of Argentine football. Other popular nicknames were: La Bombonera, El Monumental, La Doble Visera, El Cilindro or El Palacio.
Although its nickname has no direct relation to the gas tanks, curiously, not far from the Gasómetro, there was a stadium in the vicinity of huge gas storage tanks: the Club Huracán stadium, on Alcorta and Luna. Gas was used at the time as a raw material for lighting houses, cooking and heating.
History of the Old Gasometer
The old Gasómetro was inaugurated more than a century ago, 1916, when Hipólito was governor in Argentina. The stadium located on Avenida de La Plata was one of the most important of its time: its iron and wood frame could hold 75,000 spectators. Football legends such as Jacobo Urso, Luis Gianella and Federico Monti played an inaugural match on 7 May of the same year, which was won 2-1 by San Lorenzo and Estudiantes respectively. In addition, the 1929 Copa América was played at the Gasómetro with teams of great renown such as: the Matadores and the Carasucias, the Pistoleros and the legendary classic Farro-Pontoni-Martino.
And not only did Argentine football vibrate in its beginnings, it also hosted shows such as jazz and tango concerts, recitals like that of Carlos Santana and the club where he was born, San Lorenzo, who composed his first musical works in memory of his fans.
The last match the stadium saw was in early December 1979 where San Lorenzo drew with Boca Juniors 0-0, neither team making it into the quarter finals.
The loss of the stadium was due to a bad economic situation that Club San Lorenzo was going through, together with a pending lawsuit for the non-payment of swimming facilities to the company Altgelt y Cía SRL. The stadium was dismantled, some materials were sold and others were given away.
What was the opening match?
- The Old Gasometer held its first match on 7 May 1916, where San Lorenzo de Almagro won by two goals to one, scored by Eugenio Antonio Moggio and Elizardo Fernandez. The teams playing in the Argentine Football Association match were:
- San Lorenzo de Almagro. Those were the days when goals were built with sticks and boundaries were marked with string and lime. Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro was founded in 1908 and had in its squad the goalkeeper José Coll and Alberto Coll as striker. On the pitch they were followed by José De Campo, Saccardo, Federico Monti, Jacobo Urso, Etchegaray, E. Fernández, Moggio, Luis Gianella and Urio.
- Estudiantes de la Plata. They started in football in 1906 with the tournaments promoted by the AFA, in the 1916 squad were: Suárez, Castro, Galup Lanús, Ferreira, Aranguren, Tolosa, Capellini, Letamendi, Duarte Indart, Caraulen and Lamas.
Pedro Bidegain, belonging to the Club San Lorenzo de Almagro, is popularly known as the Nuevo Gasómetro, its facilities are located on Francisco Fernández de la Cruz Avenue in the Barrio de las Flores. The name Pedro Bidegain refers to its honorary president in the thirties and it is the Argentine stadium with the largest playing field, 70 metres wide and 110 metres long.
After fourteen years of waiting, the Club San Lorenzo passes through innumerable stadiums, breaking, in the 80’s, records of revenue. Then, in 1993, the azulgranas (Blue and Whites) achieved their dream come true: the biggest First Division stadium in Argentina, the resurrection of the old Gasómetro stadium.
It was built in just over a year under president Fernando Miele and on 16 December 1993 the stadium was inaugurated. Its opening started with a friendly match that ended with a 2-1 victory for the local team against Universidad Católica de Chile, but the first official match was defined with San Lorenzo and Belgrano de Córdoba that ended with a scoreless victory for the azulgrana club. San Lorenzo’s Javier Netto went down in history as the first official scorer in the new stadium.
The goals during the opening match were scored by C. Biaggio and Luis Fabián, the visitors equalised momentarily with Jorge Vázquez.
The Bidegain hosted multiple champions with three international triumphs for the club: the 2001 Mercosur, the 2002 Copa Sudamericana and the 2014 Libertadores, as well as seeing the birth of a legend, Pipi Romagnoli, who added the highest number of titles won by San Lorenzo. Likewise, the San Lorenzo of the Nuevo Gasómetro achieved thirteen consecutive victories, a record still unsurpassed in the history of Argentine football and which crystallised with Capria’s goal against Boca Juniors in 2001.
Nowadays, the Nuevo Gasómetro is constantly evolving, providing better services in terms of facilities, press rooms and changing rooms. In 1997 the Platea Sur was extended and the roofed area of the Platea Norte was built. In 2007 the capacity of the stadium was increased due to a higher capacity of Club members and in 2014 the company LG improved its lighting. In 2016, a modern presidential box with a press room was created on the North Roof and other supply areas.