It's a very ambitious project, even if it would only see the stadium grow by 2,500 seats. Because in terms of secondary uses and revenue it's a complete game changer. But can it become reality and put NEC back in Eredivisie for good?
In the past season NEC Nijmegen had an average turnout of 8,500 people. It's the third best result of the Dutch second division, not bad for a mid-table team. NEC's board wants to bring the team back to Eredivisie in upcoming seasons and stadium redevelopment could be means to achieve such goal.
Today the ground holds 12,500 people and is roomy enough for the second tier. But if NEC are to be back to the top flight for good, there's potential to grow. Capacity increase to some 15,000 is part of the plan but it would be achieved with simple extension of existing stands towards the field. Like in many Dutch stadia, currently the front row is elevated, leaving space to fill without interfering with the structure.
What's much more expensive is the external change. Current auditorium would be surrounded with secondary uses. It's worth keeping in mind that Stadion de Goffert is – like Zentralstadion in Leipzig – has been built within the old oval stadium outline. NEC's current plan would be to fill the space between historic outline and existing stands.
At this point the club doesn't own its stadium but has an option to buy it outright until mid-2021. This is why latest ambitious plans are being presented now (at the New Year's reception of last week). While preliminary, this should be the basis for further work. For now NEC are analysing what would be permitted within current zoning regulations.
“Many social institutions want to work with us in the new stadium. We are busy with all those parties and we want to show them that we want to have a stadium here for the club, but also for the city and for the people. We want to solve problems in the areas of housing, business space and social issues, creating a new heart of Nijmegen, an icon of the city.” said general director Wilco van Schaik.