It’s a historic moment for AZ Alkmaar as they become one of few stadiums across the Netherlands to actually own the stadium they play at. It’s back in their hands after 7 years.
AZ Alkmaar have officially confirmed that on Wednesday the club has bought back their home stadium, AFAS Stadion. This ends a unique saga which began with the stadium’s financing in the first place.
The project relied heavily on DSB, private bank whose chairman Dirk Scheringa was also the owner of AZ Alkmaar. The two entities signed a contract which would see AZ Alkmaar pay €2.6 million per annum until 2036 for the stadium’s freehold.
Photo: Tilemahos Efthimiadis (cc: by-sa)
This would have been a very healthy situation if not for DSB’s bankruptcy in 2009. The bank went bust and the stadium had to be sold as one of its asset. At that time AZ Alkmaar were the Dutch reigning champions, but were also around €14 million in debt to DSB.
This meant that the new naming rights deal with AFAS wouldn’t go to AZ, but rather to the bank’s creditors. With limited opportunity to generate revenue from the stadium, AZ began struggling.
That story ends now, when the club are once more fully in charge of their stadium. This will facilitate management and utilization of the building, as well as its neighbouring training field and parking sites, also under club’s ownership.
Who knows, maybe now the dream of expansion to 30,000 will get back on the agenda?