Billion-dollar playgrounds: Southeast Asia's Most Expensive Stadiums

Asia is home to a number of iconic football stadiums – think the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing and Saitama Stadium on the outskirts of Tokyo.

In Southeast Asia, the likes of Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur and Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta sit comfortably in that category, as does Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. Scenes of historic triumph that hold a special place in the hearts and minds of football fans across the continent.

While the iconic stadiums are often those built many decades ago and steeped in history, more recent developments have seen purpose-built football stadiums pop up across the region. Grounds such as the i-Mobile Stadium in Buriram, Felda United’s Tun Abdul Razak Stadium or Persiba’s Bakatan Stadium give fans a vastly different match day experience.

But how much do they cost? Differences in labour and material costs across different countries and different decades means it’s hard to judge exactly, but here is our list of the most expensive football stadiums in Southeast Asia (* all figures are in ringgit).

6. Sultan Ibrahim Larkin Stadium - Malaysia (RM201 million)

While it’s not actually built yet, ground has been broken on what will be the impressive new home of Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT). The brainchild of the ambitious Crown Prince of Johor, the stadium will have a capacity of 40,000 and will instantly become one of the best anywhere in Asia, let alone Southeast Asia.

With its distinctive design, the stadium will take JDT’s passionate army of fans closer to the action and provide one of the great atmospheres in Southeast Asia. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

In a previous interview with FourFourTwo, TMJ said he wanted the stadium to be unrivalled anywhere in Southeast Asia.

An artist impression of the new stadium in Johor

“It’s going to be a proper football stadium, so obviously we won’t have a track. I want the stadium to be a tourist destination, not just (used) for a football match but on an everyday basis, you come and visit the stadium and you have a theme park for families, a nice restaurant and a nice shopping mall next to it to sell JDT merchandise.

“It’s going to be one-of-a-kind in Southeast Asia.”

5. Aji Imbut Stadium – Indonesia (RM274 million)

Perched on the banks of the Mahakam River in Tenggarong, East Kalimantan, the Aji Imbut Stadium is home to Mitra Kukar from Indonesia’s Liga 1.

Built in 2008 and with an official capacity of 35,000, it contains seating on only one side, with bare concrete terraces completing the rest of the stadium.

Boasting a distinctive arch-supported roof it is aesthetically one of the most pleasing stadiums across Southeast Asia, especially when viewed from the air.

The stadium sits as the centrepiece of a much larger sporting precinct, which includes an indoor velodrome among other venues.

[NEXT: An Indonesian venue worth the wait and a Malaysian stalwart]