Surrey has announced a “big, bold and ambitious” move to renovate the historical Oval cricket ground in London. It announced it plans to increase the current capacity of the Kia Oval from 25,500 to 40,000. Making it the largest cricket stadium outside India and Australia.
Surrey will rebuild the Bedser Stand and Laker-Lock Stand, increasing capacity from the ground’s current level of 25,500 in time for the 2023 Ashes Test, revealed The Telegraph.
The Surrey chairman, Richard Thompson said, “English cricket needs a ground that can hold 40,000-plus supporters.”
“We have shown the demand is there and we would not contemplate this project unless we were confident we can fill this ground. We want to do something that is big, bold and ambitious and we know we can deliver it and we know we can fill it.”
Surrey have in recent years enjoyed unprecedented levels of ticket sales. The club have built up a huge database of 282,000 ticket buyers and over the next week or so expect to sell out home Natwest Blast Twenty20 games against Sussex and Middlesex. A capacity crowd filled the ground for Thursday’s Champions Trophy clash between India and Sri Lanka.
“Our ticket sales have been thriving over the last four or five years. This week and next week we will even sell out domestic cricket with our Twenty20 games against Kent and Middlesex, which is six weeks before those matches take place,“ said Richard Gould, the Surrey chief executive.
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“The ECB are looking at places like the London Olympic Stadium because they want additional capacity. Well, we can deliver that here. When you look forward to the new Twenty20 competition this takes us to the next level. There is no other club that can do it,” he added.
The club said work could start in late 2019, after a summer that includes the World Cup and England’s next home Ashes series. The Oval will stage the opening match of that year’s World Cup.
This will also put the Oval at the forefront of English cricket as the new Twenty20 league is launched.