The summer of 2022 is the planned date for the completion of the most important modernization works of Santiago Bernabéu. The stadium will change beyond recognition, and the total investment will probably amount to € 570 million.
What were the objectives for modernization of Bernabéu?
Revamp of Santiago Bernabéu began in May 2019. Initially, a 3.5-year investment period was planned, which, according to the latest reports, may be shortened by up to six months. This will enable Real to start the 2022/23 season already in the modernized stadium. At the moment, “Los Blancos" are playing their matches at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano in Valdebebas, where the club's reserves previously competed.
Santiago Bernabéu revamp plan assumes the creation of a retractable roof with the superstructure of its pillars, as well as the installation of a panoramic LED screen around the pitch. In addition, the expansion of the eastern stand and the reconstruction of the western one, where a hotel is to be built. Finally, it is planned to cover the building with a metallic facade. The stadium is to receive an increase in commercial space and an underground car park for 600 vehicles.
All this is expected to transform into an increase in the club's annual revenues by € 150 million. So far, € 100 million has been spent on the modernization of the planned 570. Another € 270 million will be paid out in July 2021, and the remaining € 200 million in the summer of 2022. The facility is financed on the basis of a 30-year bank loan taken by the club.
What is happening in the stadium right now?
There are over 700 workers on the construction site every day for the venue to be ready in summer 2022. It would be six months earlier than initially planned. The first team's move to Estadio Alfredo di Stefano accelerated construction works.
Real authorities do not expect supporters to return to the Santiago Bernabéu this season, even if the opportunity arises. The games will be played at a small stadium in Valdebebas. Currently, the works are focused on the roof of the building, a new underground car park, and the facade on the eastern side of the venue. The new towers on the west side are also taking shape.
Futuristic facade of the stadium
The facade of the facility will be made of stainless steel plates, subjected to special treatment to avoid light reflection. The designers wanted to avoid creating a stadium that looks the same from all sides, so the facade will be completely asymmetrical.
On the upper level of the stands there will be a sort of terrace that will cover the entire perimeter of the venue. This will allow fans to walk around the stadium and admire the panorama of Madrid.
Currently, the stadium has 57 entrance gates, none of which is the main entrance. The new Santiago Bernabéu will have a designated main entrance gate from the Paseo de la Castellana side.
The turf hidden under stands
The possibility of transforming Santiago Bernabéu into a concert stage or a basketball court in a matter of hours seems to be the decisive reason for this solution. The concept, which is already being implemented, is to build a special room for storing turf. The necessary conditions for the maintenance of the lawn must be provided there, which is undoubtedly a considerable challenge.
The space under the low side stand on the Paseo de la Castellana side was designated as a place for storing. For non-football events, the turf will be removed in just a few minutes, thanks to its placement on special plates that will move on rails. It is not possible to transfer the turf outside the stadium during concerts, as the venue is located in the city centre.
Roof opening / closing in 15 minutes
Opening and closing the roof at the stadium will take no more than a quarter of an hour. The panoramic LED screen, which will be located on the perimeter of the inner edge of the roof, will be visible from anywhere in the facility.
Currently, the old roof structure has been completely removed and key elements of the new canopy have been added - most notably the closure of the north and south trusses. The new towers visible from the Paseo de la Castellana are equipped with ramps, escalators and lifts to improve the movement of spectators. These towers will provide structural support for the new roof.
Will the seating still be blue?
The construction of the stands will remain practically the same, as will the capacity of the stadium, which will have 81,044 seats. The colours of the seats have not been definitively determined yet. It is most likely to stay blue.
Installation of only white seating is excluded due to possible dirt that would be too clearly visible. It is being considered to use a mixture of the colours found in the club's crest, namely blue, purple, white and yellow.
Will there be a hotel?
Building a large hotel is out of the question. The limitation of the space for development by the City Council resulted in the abandonment of this idea. The creation of a small luxury hotel with rooms overlooking the pitch is being considered. Real authorities realize that a hotel integrated into the west stand would be a great source of income.
If the hotel fails to be built, the space will be allocated to commercial premises. According to the Spanish media, the president of Real, Florentino Perez will try to push through the concept of building two hotels: one small and the other luxurious.
Other important matters
We do not know at the moment what the new dressing rooms will look like. There is speculation on whether they will change their shape to a round one and whether they will have a separate space for warming up.
We know that the entrance for the players will change the location, because the coach will enter the stadium from the former Esquina del Bernabeu parking lot, not the Padre Damian.
There are also plans to expand the club museum, which is one of the most profitable components of the stadium.
Construction of a 3,000-seat stand on the eastern side of the facility.