Stadium Industry Updates - 13 June 2023

The latest updates from the stadium industry!

Co-op Live Arena opening delayed to April 2024

The opening date for Co-op Live, a new 23,500-capacity arena under construction in Manchester, has been pushed back to April 2024. The venue, which will be the UK’s largest live entertainment arena, had previously been expected to open by the end of this year, but it has emerged today (Monday) that the first events will not be held until next spring. Co-op Live is a joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group and will form part of Manchester’s Etihad Campus. It is being built at a cost of £365m (€423m/$452m) and is scheduled to host over 120 shows annually. The Manchester Evening News has reported that test events will be held at the arena in April, with an exact date for the opening act to be revealed in the coming months.

Read more at: https://www.business-live.co.uk/commercial-property/co-op-live-new-opening-27042235

Bury FC set to return to Gigg Lane

Gigg Lane has been officially confirmed as the home venue for the renamed Bury Football Club from next season after approval from the Football Association (FA).

The stadium had served as the home of Bury FC since opening in 1885 but has not staged any matches since the former club’s expulsion from the English Football League (EFL) in 2019. A phoenix club named Bury AFC was subsequently formed by fans and has been playing matches at Stainton Park in nearby Radcliffe. Last month, members of the Bury FC Supporters Society and Bury AFC’s Shaker’s Community Society voted in favour of Gigg Lane becoming the home of Bury AFC, while a motion to adopt Bury Football Club as the team’s new name was also approved.

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/may/06/bury-fc-gigg-lane-return-merger-agreed#:~:text=Bury%20FC%20are%20set%20to,Park%2C%20home%20of%20Radcliffe%20FC.


Karlsruher SC’s BBBank Wildpark to open on July 19

German 2. Bundesliga football club Karlsruher SC has announced that it will reopen its fully revamped stadium with a friendly match against English Premier League team Liverpool next month. Karlsruher has played at BBBank Wildpark since it opened in 1955, with the stadium having undergone a complete redevelopment that began at the end of 2018.

The opening game for the new-look Wildpark will take place on July 19, with the match representing the first meeting between Karlsruher and Liverpool. Karlsruher said construction of the stadium is now so advanced that everyone involved in the project – the City of Karlsruhe, general contractor Zech and the club – are confident that the venue, including the west stand, can be fully used for the opening game.

Read more at: https://www.bbbank-wildpark.de/

FC Barcelona opens immersive museum tour

Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has launched a Barça Immersive Tour experience as it inaugurated its temporary museum next to the Palau Blaugrana arena. The experience opened to the public on Wednesday and will be used until the new museum opens at the revamped Spotify Camp Nou during the 2024-25 season. The museum has been created by repurposing the Palacio de Hielo ice arena. According to Barcelona, the tour is the largest immersive room in a sports museum in Europe. The inauguration of the museum began with a tour led by club president Joan Laporta.The aim of the museum is to replicate what the club created with its old museum in 2010, when the Camp Nou underwent its most recent refurbishment. Barcelona has worked with the Mediapro Exhibitions arm of the Mediapro agency to create the temporary museum.

Read more at: https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/club/news/3098273/temporary-fc-barcelona-museum-to-open-in-june

Burnley to step up match-day experience with Levy


Catering company Levy UK + Ireland has partnered with newly promoted Premier League football club Burnley in a deal designed to significantly enhance the match-day experience at Turf Moor. The deal, which begins with the 2023-24 season, will see Levy deliver match-day concourse catering, hospitality, conferencing and events services.

As part of the agreement, the middle tier of the Jimmy McIlroy Stand at Turf Moor will be redeveloped into a “revolutionary” new match-day experience. The experience will boast a ‘Super Box’ open-plan premium dining space, a pitch-facing sports bar with street food stations, table football and a gaming lounge.

Technology will also be introduced throughout the Turf Moor concourse to improve the customer experience. Self-order units will replace traditional bar service, with supporters able to order from terminals and collect from a dedicated collection point. Fans can now order and pay for half-time refreshments upon entry, meaning a quicker service.

Read more at: https://www.burnleyfootballclub.com/content/levy-join-as-turf-moor-partner

QPR to return to Hampden Park

Championship club Queen’s Park has agreed a deal with the Scottish Football Association to return to its spiritual home, Hampden Park, for the 2023-24 season. Queen’s Park played at Hampden, Scottish football’s national stadium in Glasgow, from when it opened in 1903 through to 2021. The SFA formally took ownership of Hampden Park in August 2020 as its previous owner, Queen’s Park, looked to a new era at a redeveloped Lesser Hampden.

The SFA had initially concluded a £5m deal back in June 2019 to buy the stadium from the then League Two club.  Queen’s Park submitted new plans for its Lesser Hampden redevelopment back in December 2021, with work continuing on this project. The club played at Ochilview Park, home of League Two outfit Stenhousemuir, last season but is now set for a return to Hampden.

Read more at: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/36621/12898744/queens-park-agree-deal-to-return-to-hampden-park

Fiorentina faces legal challenge in stadium renovation project

The Municipality of Florence has played down the potential impact of an appeal lodged against the redevelopment of Stadio Artemio Franchi, home of Serie A football club Fiorentina. The appeal has been filed to the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio against the Ministry of Culture, Florence’s superintendence and the Municipality by Fondation PLN Project. The non-profit organisation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of renowned Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, who died in 1979. The Franchi was designed by Nervi and is considered one of the best examples of European architecture from the 20th century. To this end, the outlined plans for a significant redevelopment of the stadium have been met with considerable opposition.

Read more at: https://www.thestadiumbusiness.com/2023/06/09/stadio-artemio-franchi-revamp-met-with-legal-challenge/

San Donato Area reportedly in pole position for new AC Milan stadium

AC Milan has reportedly locked on to the San Donato Milanese comune as the site for its proposed new stadium, with MANICA Architecture said to be in the box seat to secure the contract to design the venue. Gazzetta Dello Sport reported on the latest developments in the long-running saga, stating that San Donato, located around 10km southeast of Milan, is now in pole position owing to the fact it is the location that presents the most functional and potentially fastest solution to the delivery of a stadium. Specifically, Area San Francesco is the site that has seemingly been identified by Milan chiefs, with the view that a stadium located there could act as a “gateway to Milan”, with strong exposure to those travelling into and out of the city. Gazzetta said Milan has been assessing nine project proposals, which have been shortlisted to three whose feasibility and methodology reports have already been examined by club president Paolo Scaroni. The newspaper added that MANICA, along with Populous and Gensler are the three design teams in contention, with the former currently having the advantage.

Read more at: https://milanreports.com/2023/06/07/san-donato-ac-milan-new-stadium/

EFL attendance highest in 70 years

The English Football League (EFL) has reported that its competitions for the 2022-23 season drew their highest cumulative attendances in nearly seven decades. The total mark of 21,749,440 is the best for league matches since 1953-54. Of that total, 19.8 million attended a fixture in the Championship, League One or League Two, and their respective end of season play-offs, ranking the season in the top 10 highest regular EFL attendances of all time. The EFL said all three divisions featured in the top 20 best attended leagues across Europe in 2022-23, while a record 443,765 fans attended the 15 play-off fixtures, the most since the format was introduced in 1987.

Read more at: https://theathletic.com/4465172/2023/04/30/boom-time-attendances-are-spiking-and-football-has-never-meant-more/

LFP announces record attendance for ligue 1

France’s Ligue de Football Professionel (LFP) has announced that Ligue 1 set new attendance records for the 2022-23 season. In total, 9.05 million spectators visited the stadiums of France’s top division clubs, a new record for domestic football, and a 16% increase when compared to the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season. For the full season, an average of 23,810 spectators attended matches, again another all-time record for Ligue 1.The stadium occupancy rate of Ligue 1 peaked at a record average of 81%.

Read more at: https://www.sportbusiness.com/news/ligue-1-sets-new-attendance-record/#:~:text=France's%20Professional%20Football%20League%20(LFP,the%20history%20of%20the%20competition.

Serie A reaches best attendance figures since 2000

Serie A, the top division of Italian club football, has recorded its best attendance figures since the turn of the century, with an average of 29,495 fans heading through stadium gates during the 2022-23 season. The figures analysed by Calcio e Finanza include data from the whole season, barring the relegation play-off between Spezia and Hellas Verona. The average attendance for 2022-23 is Serie A’s best since 1999-2000, when a mark of 30,025 was set.

Read more at: https://www.thestadiumbusiness.com/2023/06/07/serie-a-posts-best-attendance-figures-in-over-two-decades/