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ESSMA Stadium Industry Updates 21 November 2023

Nottingham Forest considering shipping containers as temporary seating, Real Madrid approves financing plan for Bernabéu revamp, Emirates Old Trafford unveils expanded Hilton Garden Inn and much more in our latest Stadium Industry Updates!

Nottingham Forest considering using shipping containers as temporary seating

Premier League football club Nottingham Forest is reportedly considering using shipping containers to house new temporary seating areas at the City Ground in a move inspired by Qatar’s Stadium 974. The Athletic has reported that shipping containers could be used to fill in corners at the Trent End of the stadium, which currently has a capacity of around 29,500. The move, which would not require planning permission, would provide temporary seating for around 500 additional fans.  The project would bring the capacity of the stand up to 10,000, with Forest also planning on expanding the Bridgford Stand as part of a long-term goal to bring the City Ground’s capacity up to 38,000.

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Real Madrid approves financing plan for Bernabéu revamp

Real Madrid has approved a financing plan to fund the ongoing renovation of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, with president Florentino Pérez claiming that the project will “change the history” of the LaLiga club. Following an extraordinary general assembly meeting held on Saturday, Real Madrid confirmed that a proposal to extend the authorisation to the club’s board of directors to go into debt in order to finance the works had been approved.

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Limak completes first phase of Camp Nou work ahead of schedule

Turkish company Limak Construction is reportedly set to receive a €1m bonus after completing the first phase of the Camp Nou revamp project ahead of schedule.

Spanish newspaper Sport has reported that Limak’s contract with FC Barcelona includes penalties if the work is behind schedule, but also financial incentives if projects are carried out ahead of deadline. Sport has reported that Limak completed demolition of the third tier at Barcelona’s Spotify Camp Nou three weeks ago and is therefore entitled to a bonus, which is said to be worth close to €1m. If Limak is late in delivering any phase of the project, it reportedly has to pay €1m per day. The redevelopment of the Camp Nou is scheduled for completion in November 2024. Work officially started on the transformation back in March, with Barcelona spending the 2023-24 season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys while the work is carried out.

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Emirates Old Trafford unveils expanded Hilton Garden Inn

The Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester officially launched the extension of its Hilton Garden Inn hotel during an event attended by Lancashire and England legend James Anderson. Monday’s event at the expanded four-star Hilton Garden Inn was attended by over 120 special guests, including former and current Lancashire and England players, club partners, and representatives from the local area and business community.

The extended hotel now has 250 premium bedrooms, including a new top floor of suites. The facility includes two outdoor terraces and a restaurant and event space, The Edge, which was unveiled during the July Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

The top floor features seven premium suites overlooking the cricket ground. The suites have been named in honour of Lancashire legends past and present: Clive Lloyd, Wasim Akram, Michael Atherton, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Neil Fairbrother and Farokh Engineer.

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Wimbledon Park project hit by planning blow

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC)’s plans to develop a new 8,000-seat show court have been dealt a blow after Wandsworth Council recommended that councillors refuse planning permission. Last month, the AELTC cleared the first major hurdle for its Wimbledon Park project after it received planning approval from Merton Council. The plans also include proposals for 38 new courts, which would allow Wimbledon to host on-site qualifying events, bringing the tournament in line with the three other grand slams.

With Wimbledon Park also falling inside the Borough of Wandsworth, its planning committee must approve the project, but officers at the council have recommended that the plans be rejected on the grounds that they would cause significant harm to the land.

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O2 claims first for UK arena with launch of Green Rider

The O2 in London has claimed a first for a UK arena with the launch of its Green Rider, a document that will act as a guide for promoters and artist teams to make more sustainable choices. The O2 said the Green Rider will seek to drive change in live events and touring at the venue by outlining considerations and recommendations on how to make more sustainable choices and reduce the environmental impact of live events. The document will include recommendations on how to reduce CO2 emissions, make more sustainable choices for equipment and materials used, reduce waste and energy consumption, and monitor an event’s carbon footprint. The document will also feature an appendix containing useful resources and local suppliers.

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Wexford FC set for move into new purpose-built stadium

League of Ireland First Division team Wexford FC is set to move home to a new custom-built stadium in the town that could boast a maximum capacity of 6,000.

The club will move from its current venue of Ferrycarrig Park for the facility that is part of Wexford County Council’s wide-ranging development plan. The new stadium will have a minimum capacity of 4,000. This plan aims for the construction of a new university campus, two new schools, as well as housing and other sporting facilities on a 100-acre plot stretching from Killeens to Whiterock Hill in the county.

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Manchester City sets new Premier League revenue record

Manchester City has claimed a new Premier League benchmark of £712.8m in revenue, along with reporting club record profits for the second successive year, as chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak stated it will seek to further build by “doubling down on the proven philosophies and practices” put in place. City’s Annual Report for the 2022-23 season covers a historic campaign in which the club won its first UEFA Champions League, a third successive Premier League title and a seventh FA Cup. Total revenue for the year ended June 30, 2023 hit £712.8m, an increase of £99.8m, or 16.3%, over the prior year, with growth across all revenue streams comprised of commercial, matchday and broadcasting revenues.

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Birmingham announces test event for reopening of Kop Lower stand

The Kop Lower stand at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium will be open to fans for the first time since March 2020 on Sunday. The Championship club has announced that its women’s team’s fixture against Durham will serve as a test event for the planned reopening of the stand, which has been closed due to structural issues. Birmingham said that “significant progress” has been made on the remedial work since the summer. Initially, blocks 20 to 30 will be open for Sunday’s Women’s Championship fixture.

In order for the tests to satisfy local authority measures, the club needs as many fans as possible in the Kop Lower. Fans who have season tickets for the men’s team will be able to attend for free, while non-season ticket holders can buy tickets for £8.

Should the blocks successfully pass the test event, they will be on sale for the men’s team’s home match against Sheffield Wednesday on November 25, and all future men’s fixtures.


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Bristol Rovers receive green light for new South Stand

League One football club Bristol Rovers has announced that it has been given a resolution to grant planning permission by Bristol City Council for its South Stand development project.

Although the permission comes with certain conditions, Rovers hailed the decision as a “significant step forward” in its commitment to improving the safety and matchday experience at Memorial Stadium. Rovers announced in April that the South Stand would undergo renovation work during the summer, and the new-look structure had been scheduled for completion ahead of the 2023-24 season. However, with no planning permission granted amid opposition from some local residents, the club was forced to start the season with the South Stand closed. The club hopes that the new stand, which will house over 3,000 fans, will help modernise the stadium. Rovers also acknowledged that engagement with residents over the plans should have started earlier, and the club has committed to making this a regular occurrence moving forward.

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