Orange Vélodrome in France up for grabs


Marseille Stade Velodrome for sale Image: Bougues Construction

Marseille (France) Mayor Benoît Payan, in a Facebook live session, has revealed that he wants to sell the Stade Vélodrome which serves as the residence of Ligue 1 football club Olympique de Marseille.

The 67,394-capacity Stade Vélodrome, known as the Orange Vélodrome for sponsorship reasons, is a multipurpose stadium in Marseille, France. It is home to the Olympique de Marseille football club of Ligue 1 since it opened in 1937, and was a venue in the 1998 FIFA World Cup™, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2016.

Olympique de Marseille, also known as OM or simply Marseille, is a French professional football club based in Marseille. Founded in 1899, the club plays in Ligue 1 and have spent most of their history in the top tier of French football.

The venue, which also stages rugby union matches, is rented from the City by Olympique de Marseille. Major repurposing work was done on the venue ahead of the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France, with the refurbishment price tag coming to around €267m (£234m/$320m).

Payan opined that the City no longer boasted the financial wherewithal to operate the facility, and would seek a buyer to ease the burden.

Payan further stated during the Facebook Live session, “The stadium? Yes, I want to sell it, because it costs us too much money. I will find a way to find a buyer in the months, years to come.”

In December 2018, Olympique de Marseille struck a deal granting the arena’s commercial management rights to the club. The agreement was signed with the Arema consortium, which was in charge of rehabilitating the stadium through a public-private partnership (PPP) with the City.

Arema oversaw the entire management of the Vélodrome, but under the new arrangement the club took over the commercial operations. At the time the new agreement was inked, Olympique de Marseille was paying around €5m per year to rent the venue.

The Vélodrome was scheduled to host the final of rugby union’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions last year. European Professional Club Rugby opted to relocate the matches after deciding that the Vélodrome could not stage the events as planned due to the “many uncertainties” created by COVID-19 which still has its noose tightened around Europe.

The stadium has been officially known as the Orange Vélodrome since 2016 as part of a deal struck with the telecommunications company.

Orange is a French multinational telecommunications corporation. It has 266 million customers worldwide and employs 89,000 people in France, and 59,000 elsewhere.

The European Professional Club Rugby is the governing body and organizer of the two major European rugby union club tournaments: The European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

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