Eastlands set for an increased capacity?

Apparently there’s a little article about Wayne Rooney in today’s News of the World. However the United player’s private life is of less concern here than another ‘exclusive’ claiming City were offering to host a World Cup semi-final in 2018 with our 75,000 seat stadium.

Yes 75,000. That’s the claim, though figures from the News of the World should always be treated with a degree of caution. Elsewhere there has been talk of a 60,000 capacity, though the larger figure would be required if we are to fulfill the aim of matching United. The increased stadium capacity is just one aspect of the transformation set to take place around Eastlands.

The others are the new unified training facilities and a commercial development based around leisure. This may feature sport and hotels.

Speculation about the developments has been ongoing ever since ADUG took over the club, and there’s a belief that we might hear something official by the end of September. The News of the World claim it might be slightly later, in November.

Previously there has been the announcement of a partnership between the club and the Council to look into the developments with talk of a £1 billon pound investment. Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly was approached to design the new complex earlier this year. It will be fascinating to see what the plans are.

Buckingham Group Contracting are currently setting up at the site, which could be as large as 80 acres of the old Clayton Analine land, and could be doing the preparatory remediation work.

While critics will question our ability to fill such a large stadium, the development would fit with the level of expenditure we’ve seen undertaken on players. City have been happy to hand out huge long term contracts this Summer in the full knowledge that the Financial Fair Play rules are coming.

Even with Champions League football and full houses, we’d have little chance of staying within the rules. In 2008/09 Arsenal generated £100m in matchday revenue compared to our £20m. The new City Street and heated corporate seats are clearly an attempt to boost these revenues, but it’s going to take a lot more.

As northern clubs can’t get away with charging as much for tickets as London based clubs, we’ll need larger crowds to match their ticket revenues. The Emirates holds 60,000 and the new Spurs stadium looks like having a 56,000 capacity.

At the moment City would probably struggle to attract crowds larger than this, but with a couple of trophies and Champions League glamour there would surely be more people willing to come. In this light, the high impact poster campaigns make more sense.

Garry Cook is always keen to push the need to increase the fanbase both locally and globally. If there’s going to be a 75,000 seat stadium to fill, we can see why!

The excellent Swiss Ramble blog also believed City were going to increase income via the new leisure based commercial development.

With the state of the art training facilities acting as a breeding ground for talented youngsters and the added commercial strength ensuring we have the financial muscle to keep them, the long term future would look very bright.

One remaining question is how the club will cope with Financial Fair Play in the years while everything is being built. It will be at least two years before the club starts to see any significant extra revenue and we’ll probably need to buy the odd player during this time.

It’s an obvious concern so hopefully the club have a solution. Part of the plan was signing top quality young players this Summer. Boateng and co are good enough to keep the club near the top end of the table for several years to come so we won’t need that level of player turnover again.

With such a policy it was a surprise not to see Dzeko join the club. Maybe Sheikh Mansour and Garry Cook still have a few surprises up their sleeves.

The next one looks like being an announcement on the new developments. If they’re anything like the rumours and speculation that are washing around, then even more exciting times are on the way.

  • Have you heard anything about possible new developments at Eastlands?
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  1. Martin Grayfield
    5 September 2010 - 8:46 pm

    I haven’t heard anything other than you mention on the stadium development and look forward with great interest to the plans.
    On the issue of the new “debt” rules there is one very easy way around them in the short term. The owner buys some new shares which are issued as paid up. In effect that is a cash injection into the club, prior to the rules taking effect. So if the Sheikh were to pay up the salaries by this method then the club would have the money in it and so it wouldn’t matter what the income side was. That is a short term solution but would allow the other developments to take place which would then also bring us in to line with the new rules. Assuming we do actually win something generating the necessary interest.
    My only worry on all this is that the PL bubble must burst in one way or another soon.

  2. I agree with Martin. There are many loopholes in the new regulations. For instance they (the owners) could rent a box for 500 million for instance.

  3. Mansour and Abramovich could put up £100M each for an annual “petrodollar cup” between Chelsea and Man City. It could be at the start of the season, like the charity shield.

    The winner would get £101M, the loser, £99M. Both teams would have a nice headstart on other premiership teams when attempting to show a paper profit.

  4. I have heard that old sheiky boy intends to build the largest indoor theme park in europe. That should bring a few quid in! Watch this space

  5. Folks, we have NO debt. The Sheikh has invested in the form of equity,and I have no doubt that they are already working on how to deal with the idiot Platini’s desire to preserve the G14 clubs’ cash cow.

  6. Hi Jack, UEFA have included certain conditions within their FFP (not!) proposal. These include not letting someone pay a huge sum for an exec box and also sponsorship wouldn’t be able to generate huge amounts from being sponsored by your owners (or owners brothers) company, ie a £1bn per season deal wouldn’t be allowed! HGowever there are still many, many loopholes! 😉

  7. Jack (and SR) as I understand it debt associated with infrastructure projects will not count towards the financial fair play rules becuase it would be a permanent investment for the long tem benefit of the club, like the Emirates Stadium. With this in mind a £1 billion development would not be considered as debt no matter how it was financed 😉

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