The history of Stadium starts in 1974, the year that brothers Ulf and Bo Eklöf made a vow to become the best at sports gear and sports fashion. Growing up in their parents’ grocery store had given them an innate feel for business and retailing. Their interest in sports was a result of a childhood spent racing up and down the slalom slope outside their home town of Norrköping.
At a young age, while still studying at the Stockholm School of Economics, older brother Ulf got the chance to take over the Spiralen Sport store in Norrköping. Spiralen Sport was a traditional sporting goods store with over-the-counter sales. Driven by a boundless energy and entrepreneurial mindset, Ulf and Bo Eklöf revolutionised everything about traditional sports retailing. Once they had transformed Spiralen Sport in Norrköping, they set their sights on Stockholm – and in 1987 the world saw its first ever Stadium store, on Sergelgatan in Stockholm. It was a huge success from day one and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since Stadium Sergelgatan opened in Stockholm, the company has evolved into one of Europe’s largest sports chains. Stadium Sergelgatan has been joined by over 150 other sports gear and sports fashion stores, spread across Sweden, Finland, Germany and Norway. Stadium has constantly evolved, with Stadium Team Sales, the Stadium Outlet concept, Stadium Ski and Sneakers Point as notable additions. And in Stadium Sports Camp, Stadium runs Sweden’s largest – and probably the world’s most fun – sports camp for children and young people. Every year about 8,000 participants come here to create lifelong memories.
Stadium in the 2000s
2000The first store outside Sweden opened in the Fisketorvet shopping centre in Copenhagen.
2001The next step was Finland, with the first store in Forum, in central Helsinki. Finland now has 26 Stadium stores.
2005Stadium acquired a new co-owner, Ikano SA, owned by the Kamprad family. Ikano took a 25% stake in the company. The other principal owners are the families of Ulf and Bo Eklöf. Stadium decided not to be listed on the stock exchange. Stadium launched its Activity Bag project, which annually distributes activity bags to children all over Sweden.
2007Stadium stores celebrated their 20th birthday and a completely new gigantic Stadium store with an innovative retail concept opened in Sisjön, Gothenburg. Stadium now has six mega-stores. Stadium also took its next step, with a new online store in Sweden: www.stadium.se.
2009New online stores were launched in Denmark and Finland: www.stadium.dk and www.stadium.fi.
2012On 23 March, Stadium celebrated 25 years since the opening of its Sergelgatan store in 1987.
2013Stadium issued its first sustainability report.
2014The first store outside the Nordics opened on Mönckebergstrasse in Hamburg, Germany. Stadium now has three stores in Hamburg.
2017The retail concept was updated, and the border between store and online was erased thanks to “Order in store”, a service which makes the entire range (warehouse + all stores) accessible to the customer. The Group has expanded to include approx. 160 stores and 3,500 employees. To date, about 100,000 children and young people have had the chance to get active at Stadium Sports Camp.
2019Stadium establishes and presents the new Fair Play Award at the Swedish Sports Gala. Stadium’s founders, Bo and Ulf Eklöf with families, buy back the 26.8 per cent owned by Ikano AB and the company is once again wholly owned by the family. Stadium Outlet opens its doors with two physical stores in Norway, one in Kristiansand and one in Moss.
2020Stadium Sports Camp celebrates 25 years and includes e-sports in its programme. The Stadium Group’s new online warehouse is made fully operational to meet the growing e-commerce demand.