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Football stadium construction is money well spent, report shows

3 Aug 11 Almost £3.5bn has been invested in football stadia and facilities in England over the past 20 years.

Brighton & Hove Albion’s new stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion’s new stadium

Brighton & Hove Albion’s new stadium is the 30thnew stadium in the English Premier League and Football League since 1990.

The investment has increased capacity by 20% over the past 20 years and by 8.3% in the past 10 years to 42.9m across the top 92 professional clubs.

The latest Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte says that the importance of investing in stadia is demonstrated by various key performance indicators from the clubs with new stadia.

For instance:

- Hull City and Swansea City saw a 77% and 58% increase respectively in attendance levels following their move to new stadia, with both clubs subsequently achieving Premier League status (although Hull has since been relegated).

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- Bolton Wanderers generated more than 40% of their non-broadcasting revenue in 2009/10 from a combination of hospitality, hotel and office facilities at their Reebok Stadium.

- Arsenal has more than doubled the revenue the club generates from matchdays and in 2009/10 generated average matchday revenue per match of £3.5m.

Mark Roberts, senior manager in the sports business group at Deloitte, commented: “The importance of appreciating and maximising the opportunities that a stadium can offer to clubs should become even greater with the introduction of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations. The need to balance expenditure against revenue will encourage clubs and their owners to invest further in the development of their venue and/or the land which immediately surrounds it. Venue owners should focus on assessing and calculating the return on investment that the wide array of potential opportunities could deliver for their facility.”

Whilst there has been a small reduction in the pace of new stadium openings over the last five years, clubs continue to invest in facilities to generate additional revenue on both match and non-match days. Despite the 2009/10 figure (£179m) dipping slightly compared to the two previous years, the aggregate spending across the top 92 professional clubs has been in excess of £150m each year for the past 13 years. The investment at Brighton made a significant contribution to a record level of investment across Leagues 1 and 2 in 2009/10 of £58m, more than twice the amount seen in any previous year.

Mr Roberts said: “The new Brighton & Hove Albion stadium has an initial capacity of 22,500 with the ability to expand further at a later stage. This may be sooner rather than later on the evidence of current demand which appears to be strong and the commercial benefits of the investment are already being realised. The club has reported sales of c.15,000 season tickets with all premium seats sold on five year deals and all of the venue’s executive boxes were snapped up within a week. In addition American Express has invested in the naming rights to the stadium.”

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