Real Madrid began remodelling their iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium in 2019, the renovations for which have cost them 893 million euros.
The stadium has undertaken significant renovations since its inauguration in 1947 such as expanding its seating capacity, creating a new facade during the World Cup of 1982 and constant improvements to its facilities from the 1990’s onwards which made it more suitable to the increasingly modern society which it experienced.
The stadium is named after the legendary Real Madrid player, coach and president, Santiago Bernabéu (1894-1978) who oversaw its construction and was highly influential in transforming the club into one of the most successful in the world as he was the club’s president for 35 years until his death. Bernabéu is regarded as being fundamental to the modernisation and development of Real Madrid.
Its global presence and great international importance can be seen through it hosting iconic games such as four European Cup/ Champions league finals among others.
In terms of funding, the renovation costs a total of 893 million euros. The club obtained a 900 million euro loan last year in the hopes that from next year, it will generate greater revenue as the stadium fills to pre-pandemic levels, allowing the club to recoup the great costs of the extensive remodel.
The stadium’s current seat capacity is 81,000 making it the second largest in Spain to Barcelona’s Nou Camp (99,000), this is set to increase during the renovations. Other features of the renovation include a retractable roof and a pitch which can be removed and reassembled which means that the stadium can be used to host other events such as concerts and potentially NFL tour games. A subterranean greenhouse will ensure that the pitch will be preserved and the building of an area dedicated to e-sports means there will be something for everyone as well as giving it a futuristic quality, combined with a 360 degree video board. There are also preparations for an enlargement of the club museum and changes to the stadium’s exterior such as the instalment of 70,000 steel sheets to its external surface.
The renovations are set to attract more tourists to the stadium and create a complex surrounding the stadium itself through building a shopping centre and hotel in order to enhance the area and ultimately increase the club’s revenue, recouping the great expenses undergone during the renovations.
Although the club had initially aimed for the inauguration date of 14 December, 2022, which would have marked the stadium’s 75th birthday, events such as the impacts of the Covid pandemic and the World Cup interrupted this goal. Therefore, the completion date of the significant renovations has been pushed forward to September or October 2023 with Taylor Swift set to host the stadium’s first concert in May 2024.
The significant renovations represent a new era for Real Madrid, with the club inviting many of football’s most legendary figures to celebrate its completion, marking the glorious occasion on a grand scale. The stadium will become an even greater iconic symbol of architecture in Madrid and shows a bright future for the club.