Stadium Industry Updates 1 August 2023
Royal Union Saint Gilloise continues to work on development plans
Belgian Pro League football club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (USG) is hoping to submit a planning application for a new stadium by mid-2024 as talks continue with the Municipality of Forest. The Brussels-based club will continue negotiations with the Municipality in the coming weeks as the two parties seek to reach an agreement on the “concrete terms” of the project, as well as the transfer of the rights to the Bempt site on which the stadium would be built. It has been agreed that USG will launch a mobility study and environmental impact analysis in September. The results of this study, which will be carried out by an external consultancy agency, are expected to be released in early 2024.
Based on the results of this study and depending on the outcome of negotiations between USG and the Municipality of Forest, the club is hopeful that a planning application can be submitted later in 2024.
Cambridge United stadium redevelopment ‘at a crossroads’
Cambridge United owner Paul Barry has said that the League One club is at a “crossroads” when it comes to the development of Abbey Stadium. Cambridge completed the purchase of the stadium in September last year. The ground was previously owned by property developer, manager and investor Grosvenor for almost 12 years. The purchase of Abbey Stadium also included the Thrifty car hire site at the front of the ground, along with the bungalow on the front right of the stadium. Upon completion of the purchase, Barry said that the club would modernise and improve the stadium, but the ownership of an on-site Supporters Club building presents a potential stumbling block. Barry is set to meet with the Supporters Club Committee on August 7. Ahead of the meeting, Barry has published an open letter on the club’s website, which includes an offer to the Supporters Club to fund and build a new facility.
Aberdeen FC to upgrade stadium capacity
Scottish Premiership football club Aberdeen has detailed plans to increase the capacity of Pittodrie to make more tickets available for home supporters. Following talks with Aberdeen City Council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG), the club has made around 200 more season tickets available in the Merkland Stand at Pittodrie. Aberdeen will sell through the waiting list of fans who have registered an interest in a season ticket in the Red Shed area of the stand. Any remaining season tickets will then be made available on a first-come-first-served basis. The total usable capacity of the stand will increase to 2,095. Aberdeen will continue talks with the SAG in the coming weeks and months. The club is also planning structural changes to Pittodrie’s South Stand, which is mainly used by home fans but also houses away supporters. Aberdeen said the modifications will allow the club to have a more bespoke offering when it comes to allocating the number of away tickets.
Enea acquires naming rights of Lech Poznan stadium
Energy company Enea has acquired naming rights to the home stadium of Polish Ekstraklasa football club Lech Poznań. The four-year deal officially rebrands the 43,000-capacity stadium as Enea Stadion. The stadium has been without a naming-rights partner since 2018, when communications company Inea ended its sponsorship of the venue.
Enea, which is based in Poznań, is an existing sponsor of the Polish Olympic Committee and also holds partnerships with volleyball, basketball and speedway teams.
Anfield Road development hit with delays
English Premier League football club Liverpool has today (Wednesday) announced that Anfield will operate at reduced capacity for the opening exchanges of the 2023-24 season due to delays in the delivery of the new Anfield Road Stand. Work began on the £80m project in September 2021, with redevelopment of the stand set to see 7,000 more seats added to Anfield, taking its overall capacity to 61,000. While Liverpool had expected that work would be completed in time for its first home game of the 2023-24 Premier League campaign against Bournemouth on August 19, Buckingham Group, the main contractor, has now confirmed that although the existing stand will be open and operational for the first home game of the season, the new upper tier will remain closed for the time being.
Wembley stadium implements new safety measures after EURO 202 final
Wembley Stadium has received planning permission to install a series of security upgrades designed to ensure the shocking scenes witnessed at the UEFA Euro 2020 final between England and Italy are not repeated. Wembley Stadium in December submitted plans that included the addition of a new gated fence to bolster security and prevent a repeat of the violent disorder at the Euro 2020 final, which took place on July 11, 2021 following the tournament’s postponed due to COVID-19. The Football Association (FA), owners of Wembley, backed the new plans submitted to Brent Council which have now been given the green light by the local authority.
Fenwick Iribarren selected for new Serbian national stadium
Spanish studio Fenwick Iribarren Architects (FIA) has secured the contract to design a new National Stadium for Serbia, with its masterplan envisioned to create the world’s first ‘garden stadium’. Located in the municipality of Surčin, on the outskirts of Belgrade, 13.5km from the city centre and 5.4km from Nikola Tesla Airport, the façade of the 52,000-capacity stadium is intended to be unique in its nature with four tiers suspended by cables that will include garden areas. The objective is to provide the city and the local environment with a green and natural façade, with three levels of landscaped gardens around the entire stadium.
Newcastle United to introduce new fan zone
Premier League football club Newcastle United has launched a planning application process for a new fan zone on the Strawberry Place site next to St James’ Park.
Newcastle has teamed up with Stack, which has opened up several entertainment venues in the region, and Sela, its main shirt sponsor, on the project. Sela is a Saudi-owned sports event, retail and rights company.
An initial planning application for the fan zone has been lodged with Newcastle City Council. The proposed fan zone will be constructed in two phases to extend the site over a ground floor and first floor.
Salernitana stadium redevelopment plans presented
Regione Campania has presented a €95m scheme to transform Stadio Arechi, the home of Serie A football club Salernitana, into what it claims will be the most modern stadium in Italy. The local authority presented the plans yesterday, with the GAU Arena studio selected to design the Nuovo Stadio Arechi. The stadium has been home to Salernitana since it opened in 1990 and while the redevelopment will maintain its current capacity of 35,000, the facility is set for an extensive overhaul. This will be headlined by what will be a complete transformation from the Arechi’s current two-tier setup. Fans seated in the lower tier currently have to deal with sightline issues, with the new-look Arechi to instead adopt a single seating bowl. The Nuovo Arechi will come complete with a new roof, including a photovoltaic system to ramp up its sustainability credentials. An aluminium-based façade will be installed on the stadium’s exterior. New hospitality spaces will be developed which will be utilised on non-matchdays for events and conferences.