It is a peculiar time in Chamartín. While the rest of Europe is anticipating the start of the Champions League quarterfinals, Real Madrid is finalizing its economic and competitive future. This past Tuesday in the ‘Palco de Honor’, Real Madrid President Don Florentino Pérez and Mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena announced the renovation of the iconic Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which will begin as soon as this season ends!
While watching his speech, it is clear to me that Don Florentino Pérez wants to go down in Club history as the second coming of the late Don Santiago Bernabéu, who was President from 1943 to 1978. Bernabéu oversaw the construction of the iconic stadium in 1947. Bernabéu also created the original Galácticos that won the first five European Cups. Fast forward to today, we just witnessed the second best dynasty in Club history created by Don Florentino Pérez. The final pending item in his bucket list is a completely renovated stadium.
For many Madridistas, this still appears as a luxury. After witnessing this current down season, the base feels the money financing this project (525 million euros) needs to go towards new elite talent, such as Kylian Mbappé, to return to our winning ways immediately instead. However, as we all know, there is more to this than meets the eye. Let’s dive into the specifics of the deal.
First, the Club is only responsible for paying 25 million euros annually for the next 35 years to creditors once construction begins. This will allow for budget flexibility for other Club commitments off and on the field (i.e. player transfer fees and contracts). Second, once the renovation is complete, roughly by 2023, the estimated annual revenue from stadium usage will rise to between 100 to 150 million euros annually. Last September at the General Assembly, the Board reported a gross revenue of 750 million euros during the fiscal year 2017-18. This renovation along with other key variables will help the Club reach the revenue milestone of one billion euros!
Not only will a newly-renovated stadium attract new players to win more titles, the city of Madrid will benefit tremendously as well. Manuela Carmena expressed the enthusiasm of Club supporters as well as the special connection the Santiago Bernabéu stadium has with the capital. Reportedly 1.3 million visitors per year pass through the stadium’s premises, which is close behind the Royal Palace’s 1.5 million in 2016. This renovation will drive that number up significantly, and in time, the Santiago Bernabéu stadium will exclusively compete with Museo del Prado (2.8 million visitors in 2017). She stressed the word “consensus” multiple times, since the Madrid Council rejected the original application in 2015 citing lack of public interest and unauthorized usage of public land. After numerous adjustments were made, the Council has given the green light.
Our beloved stadium will be an eye sore for the next four years, but this renovation will help Real Madrid reach the pinnacle of sport excellence. It is truly remarkable how the Club stared at bankruptcy at the turn of the century, and today it raised the ceiling of European dominance as well as enjoyed towering economic prosperity. A new shopping mall, restaurants, new VIP suites, an additional 3,000 seats, retractable roof, new interactive museum, expanded ‘Plaza de Sagrados Corazones’, and 360 degree video display screen... this Madridista will wait for the grand re-opening and respectfully ask that you should too. ¡Hala Madrid y nada más!
- Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) for La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)