Porto stadium upgrades get €65m boost


FC Porto secures investment for improving stadium operations Image: Estádio do Dragão, Mister No, CC BY 3.0

Madrid-based investment company Ithaka has invested €65 million in Portugal’s Porto Football Club, which will splash the cash on improvements to its Estádio do Dragão.

Essential Business said Ithaka has investment experience in sports and sports infrastructure projects in Europe.

FC Porto said the new investor’s €65 million stake will give Ithaka 30% of the economic rights of a new company that has been set up to exploit the revenues from the Estádio do Dragão over the next 25 years.

FC Porto, or simply Porto, is a Portuguese professional sports club based in Porto, Portugal. It is best known for its professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top-flight of Portuguese football.

The Estádio do Dragão is an all-seater football stadium in Porto, Portugal, and the home ground of FC Porto since 2003. It has a seating capacity of 50,033, making it the third largest football stadium in Portugal.

Porto said it had signed an “investment and shareholders agreement” with Ithaka Infra III, a vehicle of Ithaka Investments Europe, “with a view to increase the use and economic profitability of the Estádio do Dragão.”

Ithaka’s role will be to increase the commercial potential of the Estádio do Dragão, meaning corporate hospitality, sponsorship, ticketing, naming rights, Porto Football Club Museum, stadium visits, sporting and concert events, as well as other revenues, present or future.

Essential Business further stated that FC Porto recently announced that it had closed a €250 million financing deal on the back of a rescheduling of its medium and long-term debt and which involved a €70 million capital injection related to stadium exploration rights.

FC Porto has an estimated financial debt of €311 million and total liabilities of around €500 million.

The club has been at the forefront of sustainability initiatives. It was the first to apply for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) standards and in 2007, the Dragão was the first stadium in the world to receive the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards certification.

Later in 2010, the European Club Association (ECA) presented the club with an award for good environmental practices adopted.

The ESO holds sustainability and diversity at the core of its organizational values.

FC Porto follows UEFA’s ‘Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines’ which aim to raise the bar for European football venues. The club has implemented several sustainable initiatives including zero waste landfill, water harvesting and food waste reduction projects.

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