20211211

Perfect party opens majestic PICK Aréna

EHF / Béla Müller, Eric Willemsen

The PICK Aréna has got the opening it deserved.

The second-largest multifunctional event hall in Hungary officially opened its doors on Thursday night, hosting the Match of the Week between Pick Szeged and THW Kiel in round 10 of the EHF Champions League Men 2021/22.

Apart from becoming Szeged’s new home, the PICK Aréna will also be the venue for all six matches in group C of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in January.

But Thursday’s opening party of the majestic building on the banks of the river Tisza went beyond handball.

20211211 PICK Aréna Full Width 1

While PICK Aréna’s blue lights shone in the Hungarian night, inside a colourful celebration with dance and music gave the 8,300-capacity arena a fitting overture.

The spectacle was attended by Sports Minister Tünde Szabó, Szeged Mayor László Botka, Hungarian Handball Federation President Máté Kocsic, club owner and Hungarian Football Federation President Sándor Csányi among a string of high-profile guests, and many greats of Hungarian handball, like László Nagy, Richard Mezei, Balázs Laluska, and Ferenc Ilyés.

The party was made perfect by Pick Szeged’s 30:26 win over 2020 EHF Champions League winners Kiel.

“It was for sure a historical day, both for the fans and the club,” said right wing Bogdan Radivojevic, who contributed four goals to Szeged’s triumph in the MOTW.

“The German side is a perfect opponent because it does not matter where and when you face them, they are one of the best. I truly think the 8,500 fans helped us to beat them.”

20211211 PICK Aréna Quote (1)
I like that the grandstand is pretty close to us, to the players. You can feel the venue’s enormous size and soul. Six thousand supporters more were there with us than usual, it was breathtaking.
Bogdan Radivojevic
Pick Szeged and Serbia national team right wing

With the PICK Aréna being more than twice as big as ‘Spori,’ the club’s previous playing hall, it took some time for fans and players to get used to their new environment.

“I like that the grandstand is pretty close to us, to the players. You can feel the venue’s enormous size and soul,” Radivojevic said.

“Six thousand supporters more were there with us than usual, it was breathtaking, but the most important part of the night is that we kept two very important points at home.”

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While Pick Szeged will play one more home game in 2021 – against Budakalász FKC on Saturday – before the two-month winter break of the Hungarian league, Radivojevic will return to the PICK Aréna in January with the Serbian national team.

“That is something really special for me,” the right wing said about taking on Olympic champions France, EHF EURO 2020 silver medallists Croatia, and Ukraine at the European Championship.

“We are pretty excited as Szeged is close to Serbia, but handball is not as huge there as in Hungary or Croatia. So, let’s see how many supporters will be there. To advance to the next phase, we will need our fans.”

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