In 1935, the architectural firm Pollack Ploquin was chosen to build a stadium in Marseille. The Stade Velodrome opened on 13 June 1937, when a friendly match was played between Olympique Marseille and Italian of Torino FC (which ended 2-1 to Olympique Marseille). On 29 August 1937 the first official took place between OM and Cannes. The Stade Velodrome is aptly named, since cycling competitions were held there. Over the years, bleachers gradually replaced the bike path which circled the stadium. These races became less common, but the velodrome remained famous for fans of Olympique Marseille.
1970 marked the first modifications to the Velodrome, with the replacement of the floodlights on the Ganay and Jean Bouin tribunes by four 60 meter towers for nighttime events. In March 1971, the capacity of the stadium was increased by nearly 6000 seats, with the reduction of the cycling track and the removal of the cinder running track. This brought the total capacity of the stadium to 55.000 people, including the standing area.
Olympique returned to the Stadium Huveaune for the 1982-1983 season as Stade Velodrome was under construction in preparation for the 1984 European Football Championship. The playing surface was completely replaced during this time. The semifinal between the France and Portugal had set a record for attendance at an international match with 54.848 spectators.The capacity of the stadium was later reduced to 42.000 with the construction of lodges.
The cycling track was removed altogether once Bernard Tapie was appointed president of OM in 1985. He chose to remove it and rearrange the corners of the stadium, bringing the capacity up to 48,000. This renovation marked the end of the era of Velodrome as a multi-use facility. The area around the stadium was also transformed with the creation of the second line of the metro which served the stadium from two stations and with the construction of the Palais des Sports nearby.
The Stade Velodrome was completely renovated for the 1998 World Cup; its capacity increased from 42.000 to 60.000 seats.
Le Velodrome est le deuxieme stade de France en termes de places disponibles, derriere le Stade de France, avec une capacite de 67 394 spectateurs. La capacite; est reduite à 48 000 places durant les travaux de renovation pour l'Euro 2016. Depuis 2014, le stade velodrome repond aux critères des stades de categorie 4 de l'UEFA
The Stade Velodrome has known a renovation that took 3 years and this changed the image of the stadium completely. The main goal of the newly renovated stadium is to increase ticket sales, by creating an excellent fan experience. The capacity has been extended to 67,000, with 6,500 VIP seats. Works included the almost complete reconstruction of the two principal stands, minor works on the stands at both ends, and the construction of a roof that would cover the complete stadium, hereby increasing capacity with another 7,000 seats. The works began in the spring of 2011 and were completed in the summer of 2014. The most notable change is without any doubt the roof. Before, the Stade Vélodrome was completely open and despite the good weather in Marseille, the fans were sometimes exposed to harsh wind and rain showers, while now the fans are protected from those elements. Underneath the stadium a whole new space was created in order to allow free circulation for TV, players, technicians, etc. Overall facilities have also been upgraded for spectators, media, players and staff. The whole project had a cost of 3,5 million euros.
The Stade Velodrome was one of the stadiums that hosted the the 1998 World Cup. The Velodrome hosted the final draw, which took place on 4 December 1997 (the first time the final draw was held in an outdoor venue) and seven matches, including France's first match against South Africa, the quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands and the semifinal between Brazil and the Netherlands. As of 2011, the record attendance for a football game (58.897 spectators) was the Newcastle United UEFA Cup semifinal on May 6, 2004 (2–0).
During the 2007 Rugby World Cup the Velodrome hosted six games, including two quarterfinals: Australia versus England (which holds the overall attendance record with 59.120 spectators) and South Africa versus Fiji.