Is it time to do away with the Nou Camp?
That’s a subject under heavy debate at Barcelona at the moment.
Come early next year the club’s socios will vote whether the biggest stadium in Europe should be expanded or torn down.
If they decide to build a new home for the Blaugrana it’s expected to cost in the region of $412 million, with the sale of naming rights expected to cover a significant portion of the cost.
The new stadium would be built on property belonging to the University of Barcelona, which is adjacent to the city’s Avenue Diagonal.
Board spokesman Toni Freixa explained on the club’s official website it had two choices: “The construction of a new stadium on the land on Diagonal, property which belongs to the University of Barcelona, or a profound remodelling project that would constitute a new stadium keeping the current structure of the Camp Nou.
“Both would have a capacity of 105,000 spectators, the stadium would be covered, there will be a construction of a new Palau with a capacity of 12,000 spectators, an adjacent court with a capacity of 2,000 spectators, 6,000 new parking spots and access to the Ciutat Esportiva of the Miniestadi.”
The current Nou Camp was completed in 1957 and currently holds 99,354 spectators. If a remodelling is decided a temporary home would not be required for the matches to house Lionel Messi & Company.
“The work inside the stadium could be done in summer, while exterior work could be done in winter,” said Javier Faus, Barcelona FC’s vice-president for economic matters.
The total time for construction would take three years and the the vote to move forward could take place as early as February 2014.
So, should Barca opt for the remodel or the new stadium?
For anyone who’s been to the current Nou Camp it’s hard not to feel like destroying such a structure would be a shame. Too often modern footballing stadiums seem to lack the character and atmosphere of older grounds. And while the current building gets its fair share of international visitors, the structure can still rock when packed for a big game.
Further, a remodel would be a more economically feasible measure, especially given the club’s current debt mark of $455 million. That being said, a modern stadium in the city of Barcelona is projected to generate $41-48 million of extra annual income, making the long-run potential a very attractive measure. Of course, that would come at a cost of selling the
soul naming rights to the stadium.