Real Madrid plans $617 mn Santiago Bernabeu revamp with esports facility

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Spanish football giants Real Madrid have revealed grand plans for the major overhaul of the 81,044-seater Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The revamp will include new shopping facilities and extension of the museum.

With the Santiago Bernabeu will also be upgraded with the facility for Real Madrid’s foray into the esports business with a dedicated venue for competitive gaming.

The Real Madrid stadium revamp is aimed at increasing the club’s revenue and bring closer to its ultimate goal of becoming the world’s first football club to cross the 1 billion euro revenue barrier mark.

The $617.2 million project is set to commence in 2019 and will see the 70-year-old iconic venue go through a major revamp and will take at least three and a half years to complete. The new stadium will also include an events space that is expected to generate an extra $176.4 million in revenues annually.

The plans were unveiled by the Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez at the recently concluded Extraordinary General Assembly 2018 who said that the new ’21st century stadium’ will set a benchmark in the world of sports and architecture. “The new stadium will continue to be the setting that generates the emotions which will leave their mark on Real Madrid’s future,” he said.

“It’ll be the best stadium in the world in which to see us once again recognised at the end of the century as the best club of the 21st century. It’ll offer a new stadium, heritage and be a new source of pride for our members and fans.”

Spanish companies GMP Arquitectos and L35 Ribas have bagged the tender for the stadium renovation work.

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Perez has said that the Santiago Bernabeu revamp will be mostly self-financed. “We have perfect conditions for long-term financing with low and fixed interest rates. We now have a great opportunity, this may be temporary and we should not miss this chance. Our revenues have also increased by 30% in the same period and our net debt has gone into the black by 107 million euros,” he said.

“The cost of this financing at fixed and long-term interest would mean an average annual fee of around 25 million euros, which is less than 4% of our revenues from last season and would have no impact on our sports or our sporting model.”

One standout feature will be the stadium’s wrap-around facade, which will consist of strips of steel and stripes which can be lit up and upon which images can be projected. The new arena will also offer the option for the pitch to be covered by both permanent and retractable roofs, a feature which will ensure that all of the seating areas are covered.

The club has also revealed a sneak peek into the new-look stadium via a video shared on Twitter:

The club aims to make Santiago Bernabéu a more modern, comfortable and safe arena and see it enhanced with the addition of leisure, restaurant and entertainment areas. Technology takes its place at the heart of the project. Part of the area within the stadium will be devoted to esports, whilst the arena will be fitted out with an impressive 360° scoreboard.

The redevelopment will see the Santiago Bernabéu become a digital arena, in which technological advances and the use of audio-visual tools will be available across many areas of the stadium. For example, fans will be able to enjoy club-generated content that enhances their matchday experience on their mobile phones and tablets, in what is known as the use of a second screen.

“We want to turn the stadium into a technological platform where we can interact with members and Real Madrid players from all over the world,” Perez said. “Technology will be one of the essential features of the project, as an example of an interior space for e-sports, and the installation of a spectacular 360-degree video scoreboard within the stadium’s architectural structure incorporating the latest digital advances. This means a digital Santiago Bernabéu stadium.”

“Technological advances and the application of audio-visual media will be present in many areas of the stadium so that from their seats, members and fans can enjoy club content on their phones and tablets that liven up the experience of live games. It is what is known as the ‘second screen’.”

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The museum at Real Madrid home is also set to undergo a massive revamp, which will be centred around the Paseo de la Castellana area. The museum will be extended in size and will benefit from a new interactive section, to be set up in the Padre Damián area, featuring the latest virtual-reality technology. The route included within the Tour Bernabéu will also be extended with the launch of a panoramic tour that will take visitors right the way around the stadium’s outer rim.

The project will also bring about improvements to the stadium’s urban setting, with a large square, of over 20,000 square metres, to be built on the Paseo de la Castellana, and another measuring 5,500 square metres on the corner of Padre Damián, which will see the calle Rafael Salgado become pedestrianised. There will be improvements in terms of security, accessibility and evacuation for all supporters, given that the stadium will be equipped with more entry points.

The current shopping centre is set to be demolished and two new towers will be erected on the Castellana, complete with ramps, escalators and lifts. The movement of supporters will also be more fluid, with the instalment of new escalators along the Castellana and Padre Damián which will serve the stadium’s highest points.

The shopping provision will be improved with two Real Madrid stores to be opened within the complex. The new stadium will also include the launch of a new shopping experience with digital points of sale offering goods sold by the world’s most prestigious electronic and consumer goods brands, turning the public areas into a shop window for the planet’s latest products. “The new exploitation model for the stadium will bring in an extra €150 million per season, which will mean a more constant flow of revenue as we bid to maintain our status as on-field and financial leaders”, said Pérez.