ESSMA Stadium Industry Updates 17/10

Inter Milan and Oxford United reveal stadium plans, Camp Nou receives main license approval, AC Fiorentina opens brand-new training center facilities... and much more in our latest stadium industry updates!

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Inter Milan reveals first images of new home

Italian Serie A football club Inter Milan has offered a glimpse of life after the San Siro by revealing initial concept images of a new 70,000-capacity stadium that it hopes will open ahead of the 2028-29 season. Inter released the concept images by Populous to accompany an interview given to Sky Italia by club CEO Alessandro Antonello, who said he is hopeful of securing final approvals for the development in late 2024 or early 2025. He added that the Populous-designed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London would be one of the inspirations.

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AC Fiorentina opens Viola Park complex

Italian Serie A football club Fiorentina’s new Viola Park training facility has officially opened, with the development featuring two mini-stadiums. Located to the east of Florence, Viola Park will be the new home for the club’s women’s and youth teams, whilst being the training centre for the men’s team. The complex features two stadiums – one of 3,000 seats and one that can host 1,500 – and a total of 10 pitches, as well as numerous other club facilities, including office space, media facilities and a chapel. The club marked the opening with a spectacular drone show that capped a ceremony featuring a video message by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

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FC Barcelona granted main licence for Camp Nou revamp

FC Barcelona has secured final approvals for its Spotify Camp Nou revamp, with Barcelona City Council having granted the main licence that will enable the LaLiga football club to complete remodelling work at the famous venue. The licence gives Barcelona the go-ahead to press on with rebuilding work above and below ground as soon as possible, with the club having started demolishing the stands of the old venue at the end of last season. The club now plans to progress as planned with the main phase of the project taking place during the current 2023-24 season, starting with the foundations and a new third tier, which will include hospitality facilities. The club unveiled its hospitality vision for the Camp Nou earlier this month, with the club working with Legends International on the offering.

There are also plans to build an underground car park and a new exhibition space in the coming months. Meanwhile, transport infrastructure upgrades have already been completed on one adjacent road, with similar work set to take place on three others imminently.

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Anfield Road Stand upper tier opening delayed until 2024

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan has confirmed that the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand will not be ready to open until 2024. Hogan provided fans with an update on the expansion project after the English Premier League football club last month appointed Rayner Rowen Construction to deliver the final stages of building work. The appointment was announced after Buckingham Group Contracting, the developer responsible for leading the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, collapsed into administration. “Over the course of the last few days it has become clear that in order to complete a thorough assessment of that project completion timeline, it’s going to take longer than really we first thought,” Hogan said.

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Oxford United unveils new stadium plans

 Oxford United has unveiled updated plans and new images showcasing the proposed stadium it hopes to call home by 2026. The third-tier English Football League One club will develop a 16,000-capacity arena that will also incorporate a hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health and wellbeing space and a community plaza. The “sustainable sports, entertainment and lifestyle landmark” will be located in Kidlington with a focus on access to public transport as well as a new pedestrian and cycle route and improved links to existing infrastructure. It will be a home for both the club’s men’s and women’s teams as well as a hub for its community outreach and charitable work. The stadium will be surrounded by new landscaping and community-focused open public green spaces which the club claims will enhance the biodiversity of the site by more than 10%.

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Stade Rennais exploring switch to new 40,000-seat stadium

According to a report in the Ouest-France newspaper, Stade Rennais has looked into the possibility of expanding its current stadium, but this has been ruled out due to challenges created by its location on the banks of the Vilaine River. The club, which qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2020-21, is therefore now exploring the possibility of constructing a new 40,000-seat home. Ouest-France reports that the stadium would be located near Roazhon Park, in an industrial wasteland opposite the ring road west of Rennes.

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Athens’ Olympic Stadium shut amid safety concerns

The Olympic Stadium in Athens has been forced to temporarily close after a study found that the metalwork in the venue’s roof does not meet the legally required standard.

Issues have also been found on the roof at the nearby Athens Olympic Velodrome. All events at both venues have been suspended with immediate effect, venue operator OAKA said on Friday. The defects were found after a study was carried out as part of a renovation contract between OAKA, Greece’s Ministry of Sports and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED). A second study will now be carried out to investigate the issue more thoroughly.

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PSV weighing up stadium options

Dutch Eredivisie football club PSV Eindhoven has appointed the Hypercube agency to assess its stadium options. PSV has played at Philips Stadion, which is owned and operated by the club, since 1915, but the facility, with its capacity of around 35,000, is no longer large enough to meet future ambitions. The appointment of Hypercube, which specialises in the sports and mobility sectors, was disclosed during the presentation of PSV’s annual financial report. With 9,000 fans currently on a season ticket waiting list, PSV financial director, Jaap van Baar, said: “The region is growing, so we expect that to be something that will continue to happen. That is why we continue to look at a small expansion or a major expansion at some point.”

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Revised Villa Park redevelopment plan secures Council approval

Birmingham City Council has approved revised plans for English Premier League football club Aston Villa’s stadium expansion scheme. According to, the Council has given the green light to altered plans that were first revealed last month. In July, Villa initially unveiled updated plans to redevelop the North Stand at Villa Park, with a series of amendments submitted as part of a revised planning application to the Council.

The amendments included minor changes to the North Stand itself, along with new plans for the club’s existing academy building. Villa said it was also continuing to explore “exciting and dynamic” concepts across the stadium site, in addition to other functional buildings and spaces on the footprint of Villa Park. The redevelopment will increase the capacity of Villa Park to over 50,000, with the club hoping to transform the stadium into a “world-class” entertainment venue capable of hosting international sports tournaments and other events.

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Construction contracts awarded for new Austria Lustenau stadium

The Austrian town of Lustenau has awarded construction contracts for a new stadium for Bundesliga football club Austria Lustenau. The building contract has been awarded to ARGE Wilhelm+Mayer/Hilti+Jehle. Other contracts have been awarded to a range of companies to carry out piloting, demolition, heating, ventilation, sanitary, lighting protection, electric installation and floodlight system work. The contracts awarded by the town total almost €8.2m slightly below previous estimates. The two largest contracts are for the building work (€4.6m) and electric work (€1.8m), with the latter having been awarded to EGD Elektro.

Work on the stadium is now set to begin in mid-November, with the project expected to take a year and a half to complete. The stadium has been designed by architects Bernado Bader and Walter Angonese.

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Leuven Bears Basketball first to trial hand palm payment system by Perfect-ID

On Saturday 14 October, Belgian Basketball club Leuven Bears became the first to implement the pilot project by Belgian company Perfect-ID. During their homegame against Charleroi it was possible for Bears’ fans to pay for their food and beverages simply by scanning the palm of their hands.  This is a pilot project by Perfect-ID, which has already rolled out the technology at several access control points and in an Antwerp hotel to open the room door. But the scoop to pay with your hand was for the basketball team. For now, the scan will remain linked to the chip card, but eventually the organisation would like to replace the chip card entirely with your unique palm.

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