While some details have been left out, Scottish Rugby's national stadium is expecting a boost in revenue after a 5-month makeover of its hospitality areas. Meanwhile, construction of 'mini Murrayfield' should begin soon.
BT Murrayfield's 1925 Suites have been reopened, following a 5-month redevelopment. The project resulted in slight decrease in capacity of the stadium's hospitality areas but has significantly improved the standard of what's on offer.
The redevelopment was financed with the help of Elior, provider of the stadium's hospitality, who reportedly injected a seven figure sum into the project. Of course Elior has interest in doing so, having secured a 10-year deal with the stadium from 2015/16 onwards. The deal was recently extended for 5 further years, which means current facilities will likely serve until then at the least.
Dominic McKay, chief operating officer at Scottish Rugby, admitted that the historic stadium had to adapt to catch up with other international venues. “Most stadiums are built with boxes all the way around with a view out on to the pitch,” he said for the Scotsman. “This is quality growth.”
Photo: Colin Anderson (cc: by-nc-sa)
While there is still some demand for the more formal sit-down hospitality meal, McKay said that a lot of customers were looking for something more informal. “They might want to have a light bite to eat, watch the match, have a drink and then another light bite,” he said. “These new suites give us the ability to offer that flexibility.”
According to official statements the venue is already booked well in advance and is finding it hard to manage increased demand. This, combined with overall increase in pricing for hospitality, is expected to significantly lift Scottish Rugby's revenue.
Last year SRU generated income of £62 million, a massive leap compared to £30 million back in 2011. Now that amount should only increase with enhanced stadium facilities, which also comes at a good moment for Scottish Rugby overall. SRU has, for the first time in 20 years, balanced its sheets and is debt-free.
What's coming next?
Back in 2016 there was a more significant vision presented, which would have seen Murrayfield's east stand basically rebuilt from scratch, along a hotel and new plaza outside. That dream remains on the horizon, but surely not soon. It would require significant external investment.
More realistic plans are those of creating a 'Mini Murrayfield' just west of the main stadium. Initially expected to be ready for this summer, the 7,800-seat stadium has long been stuck in proceedings, only to receive building warrant earlier this month.
Mostly built as tubular/temporary venue, it will serve as home to Edinburgh Rugby. Proximity to the main stadium will allow the team to use facilities at Murrayfield, including the renewed hospitality areas.