Land deal gives (wings) to Canaries’ stadium expansion

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Land deal gives (wings) to Canaries’ stadium expansion Image: Norwich City FC

The English top-flight soccer club – Norwich City – has purchased land around Carrow Road – the association football stadium in Norfolk, England. The expansion plan of the stadium has received a shot in the arm with the land purchase deal. It will also help to establish the Canaries (read another name for Norwich City) as one of the top 26 clubs in the country.

The land purchase information was intimated by Norwich City’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Kensell, at the club’s annual meeting.

Kensell informed shareholders in the meeting that a strip of land close to the City Stand and another plot behind the Barclay Stand had been obtained. The total investment stood at less than £1m, he further informed shareholders.

Carrow Road can seat a little over 27,300 spectators and its capacity is currently in the bottom five of the Premier League.

“We have purchased two parcels of land outside the ground. There was an opportunity and we took it,” said Kensell, who stated that the deal to buy the land was struck following the club’s promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 seasons.

“Both the parcels are way under the £500,000 mark. We have a strip between the City Stand and Koblenz Avenue. That would allow us to erect a stand, because you are not allowed to do that and hang over a piece of land you don’t own,” Kensell stated.

As part of its upgrade plan, Wi-Fi facilities within the stadium were introduced by Norwich last summer and thousands of seats were replaced thus marking the club’s return to the Premier League.

“It represented excellent value so we took that opportunity for the club,” he added.

“What that now does is allow us to pull together a true feasibility study for what we need to do over the next three to five years, but we can now deliver against those plans because we have the footprint around the stadium,” he further explained.

“What we don’t want to do is deliver pipe dreams; we want to deliver achievable aims as part of the club’s plan to grow. It is a long-term plan. As a self-funded club, we need a strategy to move forward on and off the pitch,” Kensell puts in.

A projected UK£16 million (US$21 million) profit following promotion has proved to be a catalyst to the land deal. This irrespective of the fact that the club suffered a loss of UK£33 million (US$43 million) last season.

The commercial income of Norwich City has witnessed a rise of almost UK£8.5 million (US$10.9 million) and is set to reach UK£15.9 million (US$20.5 million) by the end of the 2019-20 seasons as total income rises from UK£36.5 million (US$47.2 million) to UK£126 million (US$163 million).

Kensell, who was responsible for a record-breaking sponsorship deal with online gaming company Dafabet in the summer, said: “We have [seen] 83 per cent growth commercially. We have 46 partners. What I would say is, when I arrived we had five. Our shirt sponsorship is higher than Sheffield United. That is a fact. I know that because the Sheffield United sponsor came to see us and we had three lined up.”

Norwich City currently sit 19th in the Premier League table, three points from safety.

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