Business of Sport

Stamford Bridge up for grabs

2011-11-09 10:46
Stamford Bridge
London - Chelsea are set to unveil a naming rights sponsor for their Stamford Bridge home in 2012 in a bid to increase revenue generation at their historic stadium.

The news comes after Chelsea’s ambition to develop a new stadium suffered a blow last month as the club were defeated in their bid to buy back the freehold to Stamford Bridge.

The Barclays Premier League club had opened the door to a possible move away from Stamford Bridge, their home for the club’s entire 106-year history, by proposing to buy back the stadium’s freehold. However, the defeat means they are now exploring means to redevelop their existing stadium, with a naming rights deal seen as a key part of the plans.

“We have outgrown our stadium,” said Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay, according to BBC Sport. “We hope to make an announcement on naming rights in the next six to eight months. It would make a big step as we have to drive up the revenues.”

Gourlay first revealed plans to sell the naming rights to the ground in 2009, laying the conditions that Stamford Bridge should remain in the new title and that a lease would be for between seven and 10 years.

Stamford Bridge currently holds 42 449 fans, but the capacity drops to 38 000 for Champions League games due to UEFA restrictions. Stamford Bridge is only the eighth-largest stadium in the Premier League and club officials are concerned that this may place Chelsea at a financial disadvantage. The issue of match day revenue is set to be increasingly important ahead of the implementation of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations and Gourlay outlined the need for expansion.

He added: “We need a 60-65 000 stadium. We have the eighth biggest stadium in England and the 61st biggest in Europe. But when you look at the activity of stadiums planned for next few years, we will fall out of the top 75 which can only be restrictive to the football club. We have corporate hospitality that is second to none and 30 000 season ticket holders. In the meantime we continue on our conversations to see if there is any way at all to extend Stamford Bridge.”

Read more on:    chelsea  |  epl  |  business of sport


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