More loan to cover Santiago Bernabéu revamp


New cash to finish Real Madrid stadium Image: Real Madrid (YouTube)

The LaLiga club Real Madrid CF’s Board of Directors will ask the club members to approve a new €370million (£322m, $391m) loan to cover further spending in the renovation of their home venue – the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain – with the redevelopment of the stadium now set to cost the club at least €1.4bn.

‘The Athletic’ stated that Madrid’s Board has outlined plans to do so in a document sent to members before a General Assembly to be held on November 11th.

The Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly referred to as Real Madrid, is a Spanish professional football club based in Madrid, Spain. The club competes in LaLiga, the top tier of Spanish football. Founded in 1902 as the Madrid Football Club, the club has traditionally worn a white home kit since its inception.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a football stadium in Madrid, Spain. With a current seating capacity of 83,168, it has the second-largest seat capacity in Spain, and it has been the home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947.

The renovation work is ongoing at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. The stadium is in its final phase of construction and is expected to be unveiled on December 23rd, 2023. The project was originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The stadium will feature a new retractable roof, a revamped museum and the ability for fans to access club-generated content on their mobile phones and tablets.

‘The Athletic’ further stated that the document says the club would like to borrow more money because of “price revisions” and “unforeseen works” as well as to cover “improvements and complementary facilities” on the project to redevelop its iconic ground.

It is the third loan Madrid’s leadership are looking for and it is highly likely the move will be approved by a majority support among the members. When the club requested a second loan for the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium works in 2021 there were 1,582 votes in favor, 16 votes against and 37 abstentions.

That second loan was for €225million. It was taken in part to fund works on a new retractable pitch system that was not part of the original redesign. A first loan of €575m was taken in 2019.

These first two loans were granted at interest rates considered favorable by the industry experts (2.5 percent and 1.53 percent, respectively). However, the interest rate for this new loan will likely be higher.

Both the second and third loans can be considered as project cost overruns, as they were not previously planned. But Madrid sources, who preferred to speak anonymously as they did not have permission to comment, insist that this further borrowing will not be a burden on the club’s finances.

In Madrid’s latest official accounts corresponding to the 2022-2023 seasons, the club also says a “growth in net cash flows” relating to the stadium renovation will “allow the club to amortize the redevelopment investment and continue to grow and be competitive in an increasingly difficult international football scenario”.

The new Bernabéu will bring an increase in capacity by about 4,000 – to approximately 85,000 – and an expanded VIP area. Madrid also plan to use the new ground as a venue for other non-footballing events, such as hosting a leg of Taylor Swift’s (American singer-songwriter) The Eras Tour next May, and believe this will provide extra income.

The works began in 2019 and “the essential part” is “expected to be completed by the end of 2023”, according to Madrid’s latest accounts, in which it is explained that the total cost has increased to €1.4billion.

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