LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank clubs are working to adapt their facilities and maximise revenue from their stadiums.
The coronavirus pandemic has been decisive in prompting clubs to invest in their future. This can be seen through the extensive refurbishment projects underway in their respective stadiums, with the aim of offering fans a much better level of comfort and safety.
Many of LaLiga’s stadiums have undergone renovations over the last year in a bid to offer fans a better experience when the public is finally allowed to return to the stadiums. Whether through their own initiative or through the need to adapt the stadiums to new regulations, the clubs have been making significant investments to ensure that their facilities are equipped with the latest technology and can provide greater comfort and accessibility to fans and players alike.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented the public from attending matches in the competition’s stadiums for over a year, has been seen by many clubs as a golden opportunity to build the future and refurbish their facilities to offer better amenities and services. Here are some of the more prominent renovation projects that have been carried out over the last year.
CA Osasuna – El Sadar
Building work on the renovation of the El Sadar stadium began at the end of the 2019-2020 season. After consulting its members about these renovations, the club from Navarre gave the go-ahead to carry out the project with an investment of between €16 million and €19 million. The works consisted of expanding the stadium’s capacity to the current 23,500 as well as offering its fans more amenities.
One of the main additions is also the new single roof that surrounds the entire stadium. CA Osasuna has also expanded its commercial space, consequently, the exploitation of these spaces will be an extra benefit for the club. The area where the media work, the referee dressing rooms, the press room and the presidential area have all been renovated too. New offices for Marketing and Communication, plus a multipurpose meeting room have also been built.
Levante UD – Ciutat de València
The Levante UD club’s stadium is one of the venues that has seen the most significant image overhaul. With building work beginning in 2019 that introduced major changes which were not appreciated until July 2020, a comprehensive renovation of the Ciutat València has been carried out for los granotas fans to now enjoy.
Although work on the project concluded in November 2020, it was not until this season, with the return of the public to the stadiums, that the fans have been able to enjoy the newly refurbished facilities. The venue has a brand-new roof, the lighting has been improved and a skycam has been installed. The stadium has also been equipped with a new PA system and two new scoreboards with video, and the acoustics have been improved to create a much more vibrant sound for the fans.
Real Betis – Benito Villamarín
Real Betis boasts a multi-connected stadium thanks to its innovative 5G system. The Seville club’s IT department introduced this technology to offer its fans better experiences while at the same time boosting its revenues.
This innovative system means that the Benito Villamarín is one of the first stadiums in Spain with the capacity to deploy multi-operator 5G cover, with all the consequent advantages that this entails. Generating new business models will be much easier with an ambitious strategic plan that combines digital connectivity with a much richer fan experience.
Real Madrid – Santiago Bernabéu
This is one of the biggest projects in terms of size and investment. Real Madrid wants to transform its stadium into an international benchmark. The capital’s club is working on creating a venue with optimum levels of comfort and safety, equipped with the latest technology. The new Santiago Bernabéu stands out for the stadium’s roof enclosure and façade. The retractable roof, equipped with the latest technology, takes just 15 minutes to open.
The scoreboard with video will have 360° visibility, there will be a new commercial area, hotel and VIP area, in addition to restructuring and improvements to the VIP boxes. Although renovation work will not be finished for this season, fans can already start to enjoy some of the improvements that have been made to the stadium.
SD Ponferradina – El Toralín
The idea SD Ponferradina had in mind for its stadium was to be able to provide a global experience for both fans and players. On the one hand, both home and visiting teams’ dressing rooms have been given a complete makeover, rendering them more comfortable, accessible and with better functionalities. The home dressing rooms, besides being more spacious, now boast a physiotherapy area, gym, jacuzzi and recovery area with hot and cold pools, among other features.
On the other hand, fans can now also benefit from the renovations to El Toralín following the extensive work carried out on creating open spaces for fans to enjoy a number of different experiences, such as the players’ entry onto the playing field, or the refurbished VIP spaces for corporate hospitality.
UD Ibiza – Can Misses
UD Ibiza has had to adapt its stadium to adjust to the requirements of professional football in its first year playing in LaLiga SmartBank, with the Can Misses stadium consequently undergoing a profound change. One of the main modifications has been the replacement of the artificial turf that covered the surface of the field last season with the natural turf that was installed this summer.
In addition, the benches have been moved to the opposite side from where they were originally situated, a scoreboard with video has been installed, the roof of one of the stands has been removed to make way for the installation of TV camera towers, media booths and the VAR room, the lighting system has been improved, and turnstiles have been installed at the stadium entrances.
SD Huesca – El Alcoraz
SD Huesca’s stadium has seen its appearance changed through numerous refurbishment projects over recent years to improve its facilities. The highlights of these renovations include around 9,100 seats for fans, closed corners, new spaces and roofs for the stands.
The creation of a new stand in the General Stand area has provided the venue with an additional 1,115 seats. Above it, there are 15 VIP boxes with capacity for around 320 people. This means that the general area is at the same height as the rest of the stadium so it is all even aesthetically speaking and it can welcome more fans.
More stadiums with new developments
Though less extensive, other refurbishment projects have been carried out that have resulted in an improved fan experience. For example, Athletic Club is installing escalators to facilitate access for members and fans to the upper areas of the San Mamés stadium. As a result, 29,000 spectators will now benefit from the new infrastructure.
Real Sociedad has been involved in further renovation and modernisation work on its Reale Arena, adapting it to the new needs and requirements of the modern sports environment. The dressing rooms are now more spacious, open-plan, fully equipped and with more up-to-date materials and finishes. The press room and tunnel to the dressing rooms have also been improved. As from this season, the facilities will benefit from a fully digitalised auditorium with a capacity for 180 people.
On the other hand, SD Eibar, which has been gradually refurbishing Ipurua since 2014, finished the project with the renovation of the west stand. The investment cost the club 20 million euros. Three of the four stands have been rebuilt, with the fourth also being completely renovated. The press room and mixed area have also been improved and a gym area has been created for the first team. Finally, Real Valladolid has improved access for the club’s fans, management and players, with other highlights being the change in the lighting system at the José Zorrilla stadium and the elimination of the dugout.
This article originally appeared LaLiga’s Global Futbol newsletter.
To read more and subscribe, click here.