The Camp Nou is the biggest soccer stadium in Europe and one of the most famous football grounds in the world. However, one way or the other, it’s going to change in the near future, as the Barcelona Socios will hold a vote on whether to remodel and expand it in the near future or simply to leave it and build a new stadium.
Built in 1957, the stadium used to hold a capacity of over 120,000 until 1993, when it began becoming popular to reduce capacity numbers by eliminating standing-only stands. There has been talk of moving to a new stadium at a different part of the city for quite some time, but possibly remaining in the same place.
According to Javier Faus, the club’s vice president for economic matters, a vote might take place in early 2014. It won’t be about leaving or expanding alone, but also regarding the issue of naming rights, something that has come up several times in the last few years as well.
Barcelona are still 331 million euros in debt according to accounts presented at October’s AGM. A new stadium or even a massive expansion and remodelling will cost a lot of money – close to €300 million. However, moving to a new stadium might generate an extra 30 and 35 million euros of annual income.
So how is the money for the new stadium/expansion going to be generated? There will be a vote on raising the price of season tickets, but that seems to be an unpopular subject among the club’s members, who prefer the abonos to remain frozen in price until 2016. The other option is to sell naming rights to the stadium. Barcelona were never wearing a sponsor’s name on their jersey, but their financial needs have changed that as well. There’s also the trading rights solution, something of an intermediate option – instead of calling it the Coca Cola Stadium, it’ll be called the Camp Nou Coca Cola, or any other company you might think of.
In any case – expansion or new stadium, the new capacity will be roughly 105,000, matching it with the Estadio Azteca as the third largest football stadium in the world.