Levante home showcases LaLiga clubs’ growth


Levante stadium update Nov 2020 Image: Levante UD & LaLiga

Spanish LaLiga football team Levante recently reached an agreement with the City Council vis à vis a second phase of renovations for the club’s home since 1969 – Estadi Ciutat de València in Valencia, Spain.

And now, setting up a new roof, new lighting and new video scoreboards have turned Estadi Ciutat into one of the leading stadiums in LaLiga and Europe. As part of this redevelopment project, new commercial opportunities will be available to the Valencia (Spain)-based club.

The current redevelopment works, revolving around the installation of a state-of-the-art roof, are giving Levante UD’s home a modern and pioneering look, while demonstrating the continued growth of La Liga clubs.

Levante Unión Deportiva, or Levante UD, is a Spanish football club in Valencia, Spain. Founded on September 9th, 1909, it plays in La Liga – the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

Estadi Ciutat de València is a football stadium in Valencia and is the home ground of Levante UD. Built in 1969 and holding up to 26,354 spectators, it is the 23rd-largest stadium in Spain and the fourth largest in the Valencian community.

LaLiga is the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

As the latest stadium project to take place in Spain in recent years, LaLiga clubs continue to show a willingness to invest in the creation of top-quality stadia that provide the best spectacle for fans, players and TV audiences alike.

Sleek touch

Located in the Orriols neighborhood of Valencia, the Estadi Ciutat de València got off the ground on September 9th, 1969. Now, 51 years later, the growth of the club is reflected in a major redevelopment project that reaches the latest European football and broadcast standards.

The work has involved a comprehensive repurposing of the existing stadium and required sophisticated design work, as space was limited due to its City center location.

The new roof, for example, has been designed with cutting-edge technology to make it as light as possible, while covering the minimum amount of space so as not to affect the stands below.

Improved connectivity

There are two phases to the redevelopment plans at the stadium, which began in the summer of 2019.

Phase One encompasses building the roof around the ground and the installation of new lighting, which will allow for 4K broadcasts. There will also be new signage, two new 21×7 meter TV scoreboards, a new sound system and new security systems. Work is likely to be completed this month.

In Phase Two, the club will reorganize all interior spaces to lend an avant-garde touch, while creating new VIP zones and commercial spaces.

Fans’ comfort

These reforms will allow the club to boast futuristic facilities in ways that will respond to all Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and FIFA quality standards, facilitating the club to stage European matches.

A further benefit of the work is that the club can now more easily meet the criteria of LaLiga’s broadcast guidelines.

Explained Alberto Gil, Levante’s Director of Communication, “As well as modernizing the stadium’s image and providing greater comfort to fans, this will also help the stadium meet the television broadcast rules by improving our lighting and by allowing for the installation of an aerial camera.”

Amazing acoustics

When fans will be back to stadiums’ fold, those who visit to the Estadi Ciutat de València will see a sea change and will also be able to enjoy a unique experience and a completely different atmosphere to what existed before.

The introduction of new technology will make a marked difference, as Gil explained, “There will be better mobile connectivity and this can allow for better interaction with the fans in the stadium and the offering of products and services through the Granota fan club app.”

The new acoustics enabled by the reconfigured roof will also create a much more vibrant buzz during matches and, in addition, fans will be better sheltered from the vagaries of weather.

Gil added, “The new video scoreboards and sound system will also offer a better-quality experience.”

Chic quotient

While works are being completed, football has started again. Levante’s home match against Spanish football club Deportivo Alavés last week was the first it has held at its arena since March 8th, 2020, after a period of eight months as COVID-19 had turned the whole soccer calendar topsy-turvy.

Gil continued, “For this match, we installed new hybrid turf, new lighting that meets the broadcast guidelines and the entire roof structure. Step by step, the roof will be closed up and the new video scoreboards and aerial camera will become operational.”

Going forward, the club will add to the sporting and fan experience with new commercial opportunities, as he outlined, “Merchandising sales can be opened up at the stadium with many possibilities and with the objective of creating new revenue streams.”

Gil maintained, “The fundamental objective of the plan we’re carrying out is to make our stadium a more modern one and a reference for medium-sized stadiums, thanks to the functional design that is focused on the fan experience and thanks to the way it is managed on non-match days.”

Earlier, the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, and the President of Levante, Quico Catalán, inked the deal, a project which the City Council “values positively for urban, environmental and social reasons” considering it “in the public interest for the City of Valencia”.

In October 2010, given the desire at the time for the club to build a new stadium in a different location, an agreement was reached with Valencia City Council that would have allowed the sale of the Estadi Ciutat de València for redevelopment as residential property.

This sale would have provided funds for a new stadium, but Levante has stated this option has been dropped following analysis “gathering the practically unanimous feeling of the fans, considering the excellent current urban location of the stadium and studying the different existing alternatives”. Therefore, the 2010 agreement has been annulled.

In August this year, Levante secured a loan of up to €60m (£54.9m/$71.1m) to aid the ongoing redevelopment of Estadi Ciutat de València. The club signed the agreement with Benjamin de Rothschild Infrastructure Debt Generation (BRIDGE), a debt fund platform for infrastructure projects run by Switzerland-based private banking company Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management.

The purpose of the agreement is to finance the redevelopment of the Ciutat de Vàlencia, the construction of the new sports City at Nazaret (Spain), and cancel mortgage agreements with Spanish multinational financial services company Caixabank and Spanish financial service company Cajas Rurales Unidas.

In keeping with the terms signed by the parties, and to structure the operation, a new company was created, Levante UD Nuevos Desarrollos, of which the club is the sole partner. This new entity will be the owner of the land on which the sports City will sit.

Commenting on the latest developments, Ribó commented, “We wish Levante UD the greatest success and hope that everything goes very well, and that both the Orriols neighborhood and the Nazaret neighborhood – with the Sports City project – as well as, in general, the whole City, might also enjoy world-class sports infrastructure.”

Catalán concluded, “(The agreement) permits our home to continue to be our home, and that this stadium of ours is a national and international benchmark not only in the world of football, but also in Valencia, making it an attractive and interesting place for people who come to Valencia to enjoy sport and the City itself.”

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