Barça rejig home to boast ‘avant-garde tech’


FC Barcelona reaches deal to finance new Camp Nou Image: FC Barcelona

The LaLiga club FC Barcelona have secured almost €1.5 billion in financing to press ahead with the redevelopment of their residence – the Spotify Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain – the club announced recently.

‘ESPN’ stated that Barça had set an initial deadline of March 31st to finalize the funding for the project, but a rise in global interest rates led to some delays in the final stages of the negotiations.

Futbol Club Barcelona, commonly referred to as Barcelona and colloquially known as Barça, is a professional football club based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, that competes in LaLiga, the top flight of Spanish football.

The 99,354-capacity Camp Nou, branded as Spotify Camp Nou for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It has been the home stadium of FC Barcelona since its completion in 1957.

The Espai Barça development plan goes well beyond modernization and reconstruction of FC Barcelona’s home venue Spotify Camp Nou. In addition to increasing the capacity of the current stadium to 105,000 from circa 99,000 and completely revamping the current structure of Spotify Camp Nou, the Espai Barça project entails building a new Palau Blaugrana with a capacity of 15,000, an additional court with a capacity of 2,000, an ice rink, a new social area, a new commercial area, revamped club offices, La Masía (read FC Barcelona’s youth academy), and an additional 5,000 parking spots. This ambitious initiative has been in work for several years and is scheduled to be ready for the 2024-2025 seasons. In April 2014, Espai Barça was approved by the club’s members with a budget of $700 million.

‘ESPN’ further stated that in the end, 20 investors are involved to reach the amount needed for the work, which will see the club’s historic 99,000-seater stadium and the surrounding area completely regenerated.

The LaLiga leaders have stressed that “club assets were not used as a guarantee and a mortgage was not taken out on the stadium” following recent reports they would have to make compromises to seal the financing.

A statement sent out read, “[The money is repayable] in different installments to be paid progressively at five, seven, nine, 20, and 24 years, with a flexible structure, including a grace period. The club will start to repay the operation once work has been completed on the stadium, using income generated by Camp Nou.”

The ‘Blaugrana’ also confirmed that Goldman Sachs (New York, US-based investment banking company), JP Morgan (American multinational financial services company), JLL (Chicago, US-based real estate company), Pérez-Llorca (Madrid, Spain-based law firm), DLA Piper (London, UK-based law firm), Key Capital Partners (investment company in London, UK), Legends (New York, US-based global premium experiences company), and IPG 360 (Los Angeles, US-based business development service) were among the investors.

Work has already started on the redevelopment of Spotify Camp Nou, with an upper tier holding around 5,000 fans behind one of the goals removed during the break for the World Cup last year.

The revamp will pick up the pace once the current campaign draws to a close, with Barça moving to the 55,926-capacity Olympic Stadium in Barcelona (Spain) next season.

They hope to be back at Camp Nou by November 2024, coinciding with celebrations for the club’s 125th anniversary, although work will be ongoing until 2026.

Barça’s €1.5bn project will see them transform Spotify Camp Nou into a 105,000-seater stadium that they say will be “at the avant-garde of technology”.

The stadium first opened in 1957 and remains Europe’s largest, but the 65-year-old venue is in need of a facelift.

The grand plans to renovate the ground were first approved by Barça members back in 2014, but due to myriad issues the club has only been able to carry out a tiny fraction of the proposed work – which has also been modified through the years by the new Board of Directors.

The new Camp Nou will boast a retractable roof covered in 30,000 square meters of solar panels. This energy will be used to power the new 360-degree screen that will run around the entire interior of the stadium, as well as various security systems. In another effort to improve the ground’s sustainability, rainwater will also be collected and recycled.

Outside, the concourse will feature a raft of new office complexes and green spaces, as well as an onsite hotel, event spaces, an ice rink, and the ‘Palau Blaugrana’ – a smaller pavilion arena that is primarily the home of the basketball team.

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