Aurora Aberdeen FC project including a new stadium, training and community facilities

Duncan Fraser - Chief Executive at Aberdeen FC - shared an update on the Aurora Aberdeen FC project with delegates during the ESSMA Summit in Porto.

Pittodrie Stadium

Since 1903 Aberdeen FC has played its home fixtures at Pittodrie Stadium. With a capacity of just over 20,000 Pittodrie Stadium is the fourth largest in the Scottish Professional Football League. Though the stadium has a long history and is popular amongst fans, it has become outdated and needs to be replaced. A reconstruction of the current Pittodrie Stadium is not viable as the site does not allow for the construction of modern training facilities or additional community facilities close to the stadium.

Aberdeen FC decided that the best option to move the club forward was to build a new stadium on another site and sell the current Pittodrie stadium for housing development. The outline planning approval was consented in April 2011.

Aurora Aberdeen FC Project 

The club’s new Aurora project will include a community sports hub and training facilities for Aberdeen FC, alongside the new 20,000 seat stadium which will provide an improved matchday and non-matchday experience for the club, fans and the wider community.

The £50 million privately-funded project will provide sporting and entertainment facilities for the community and will allow the club to construct dedicated facilities for its award-winning “AFC Community Trust” foundation close to the stadium. These facilities include:

  •  Three professional training pitches
  •  Two community 3G pitches
  •  Community pavilion which will include changing facilities
  •  Offices
  •  A gymnasium and multipurpose space (with a potential community learning zone)
  •  New stadium with up to 20,000-seat capacity
  •  A fan zone
  •  An Aberdeen FC club store
  •  AFC Heritage Museum and Memorial Garden
  •  Circa 1,500 car parking spaces
  •  Bus parking and drop-off areas

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the project includes the construction of a community (sports) hub, multiple playing pitches, professional training facilities and a youth development academy. Phase 1 of the project is planned to be completed by the summer of 2019, with construction of the new stadium following after completion of this phase.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project includes the construction of the stadium itself. During the design phase, Aberdeen FC has made sure to listen to its fans and other stakeholders. They looked at best-in-class facilities in stadiums across the UK and Europe and came up with a design of a new 20,000 seat stadium complete with multifunctional facilities and surrounded by modern training facilities. The current plan is to have the stadium operational for the start of the 2022/23 season.

 Main takeaways

  • When developing a new stadium project, it is essential to involve and gain the support of the local community
  • Bring together professional training facilities, youth academy, a top-class stadium and a community hub to create a unique synergy which will support the club’s overall growth
  • Provide best-in-class facilities, not only for your players, but also for your staff. Talented staff should be given the opportunity to work in optimal and circumstances and to grow within the club
  • A football club has to recognise its role in the local community and should work with and for their own community
  • Too many clubs make the mistake of just replicating what they already had in their old stadium in a shiny new stadium
  • Use your existing stadium to try-out new options that you would also like to integrate in your new stadium. If they don’t work in the existing stadium they probably won’t work in the new stadium either
  • Focus on your youngest fans and keep implementing new technologies to improve their experience

Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.

Access his presentation on the ESSMA Knowledge Platform