How FC Barcelona is enhancing fan experience through its Espai Barça project
ESSMA interviewed William Mannarelli - Director of Real Estate at FC Barcelona - about the Espai Barça project. The Espai Barça project is a large-scale infrastructure redevelopment project to improve (and expand) all FC Barcelona’s infrastructure including their training facilities, Camp Nou Stadium, Palau Blaugrana, the club’s offices as well as the commercial and leisure facilities.
What will the renovated facilities offer in terms of fan experience for Barça fans?
FC Barcelona has a long-standing tradition of providing the ultimate experience in terms of live sports events. The Espai Barça project is following that tradition as it links to the future Camp Nou. As a result, FC Barcelona aims to intensify the atmosphere inside the stadium and allow the players and fans to be closer to each other. That is in fact why people come to the stadium instead of watching the match on television. Palau Blaugrana has a tradition of being loud and having the spectators almost on top of the players. The new Palau Blaugrana is also very tight and compact. Preserving the continuity of the tradition of enhancing the fan engagement is key in all of our new venues.
What are the next steps in the Espai Barça project?
Estadi Johan Cruyff is finishing its construction work. We are hopeful that the building will be open and operational by May 2019. This summer, we are going to start moving roads and public utilities to make room for the enlargement of Camp Nou. In addition, we are doing renovation work in the future Camp Nou. We hope to apply for licenses for the stadium and for the arena, and then we can start with the construction.
“FC Barcelona aims to intensify the atmosphere inside the stadium and allow the players and spectators to come closer together. Preserving the continuity of the tradition of enhancing the fan engagement is key in all of our new venues.”
What will be the impact on the club and on the local community?
There is a tremendous amount to be won for the club, the community and the city. At the moment, we are strategically aligned to develop this project. It took a long time to get everybody sort of aligned, but the political will at this particular point is overwhelming and the long term effect is that FC Barcelona will have modern infrastructure for its fans locally, but also from around the world. In addition, we will also be able to give a public space back to the city of Barcelona that it currently does not have. That should be a tremendous benefit on non-matchdays for the surrounding residents.