At an assembly meeting on September 23, Florentino Pérez will ask delegates representing Real Madrid’s 90,000 members to approve his plan to take on €575 million of debt for the remodeling of the Santiago Bernabéu.
Under the club’s statutes, the president must seek approval of members before borrowing such a large amount of money. It will now be up to Pérez to convince delegates at the upcoming assembly of the prospective economic returns of the project, which will not add seating or general capacity to the current stadium.
According to the plan the club presented to the Madrid city council, an obligatory step in the process to obtain a construction license (which is still yet to be processed), the new Bernabéu will not have a hotel that had been previously proposed.
Expanded museum will be new main income source
Apparently the main new source of income after the project is completed would be the expanded museum. The current museum is one of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions after the Prado Museum and Renia Sofía Museum, attracting 4 million visitors a year. The current price of entry to the museum is €20, which includes a stadium tour.
The latest plans now rule out an earlier proposal to build a luxury hotel on the façade of the west side of the stadium. Initially the prospect was even discussed of having hotel rooms with Jacuzzis from which guests could watch games. That was when the Partido Popular government had permitted the plan to add 12 meters in depth to the West-facing façade from tower to tower. Now to take the project forward, Madrid must also give up an area in the corner of the stadium, which will be become a privately owned square for public use.
Gaining space for the new roof
With such tight space restrictions, the club has found three ways to gain square meters in order to build the retractable roof that will cover the new stadium: the offices have been moved to the club’s training base in Valdebebas in the north of the city, freeing up 8,000 square meters; the aforementioned corner of stadium that will be demolished will provide another 10,000 square meters; while another 5,000 square meters that remain unused in the current structure will also be utilized.
But without the proposed hotel, the club will wave goodbye to the 150 million of additional annual revenues that were previously talked about. Now the only main sources of new revenues will come from the expanded museum, some commercial spaces and conferences and events that could be held under the new covered stadium between seasons when it is not in use. But it remains to be seen if these prospective new revenue generators will be enough to convince delegates to approve Pérez’s massive debt-financing plan next week.