Rotterdam: Feyenoord cannot afford new stadium?

source: [TS]; author: Tomasz Sobura

Rotterdam: Feyenoord cannot afford new stadium? The club unveiled plans to build a new venue in mid-2017. We're four and a half years later and no closer to starting construction. In theory, everything should be decided by the end of the year.


There is no money for implementation

The new Feyenoord stadium is part of the southern Rotterdam expansion plan called Feyenoord City. Until recently, the cost of erecting the arena with a capacity of 63,000 seats was estimated at € 441 million, and along with the revitalisation of the neighbourhood, the investment was to cost € 1.5 billion. Thus, it would be one of the most expensive facilities in Europe.

Feyenoord City would bring the club closer to Ajax and PSV in terms of revenues. Initial forecasts showed that the new venue could contribute up to € 25 million a year to the club's finances, if the project were to be implemented.

Feyenoord City© OMA

The aforementioned amount could come from the sale of more tickets, a wide range of premium seats, the expansion of catering stands and a large number of non-football events. This was all included in the business plan that was presented in April.

However, this document has recently lost its relevance, as for many months we have been observing a sharp increase in the prices of building materials on the world markets. It seems that the figures it contains are heavily underestimated. In light of the above situation, the construction cost of over € 500 million is more realistic today.

Financing has not yet been clarified. At this point, it is said that it would be based on several pillars, the most important of which would be a bank loan. Additionally, Feyenoord is looking for private investors (they would add a minimum of € 40 million) and intends to issue shares worth € 40 million, which the city council has pledged to buy.

Everything will be decided by December 31

Councilors have given the club a deadline of December 31 to determine whether it is able to build a new stadium. Moreover, the club must meet two further conditions, without which the investment will not be possible. It is about securing the financing of the project and finding a contractor who fits in the budget of € 441 million.

Feyenoord City

The city of Rotterdam firmly insists that this amount cannot be exceeded. However, building a stadium for such money does not seem realistic today. This raises the question of whether there will be an investor ready to cover the missing amount. Theoretically, the solution would be to reduce the scale of the project or abandon some of its elements.

The erecting of the facility also has many opponents, especially among the most die-hard fans of Feyenoord. Supporters fear that the new arena will not have the feel of De Kuip, ticket prices will be much higher and they will be subjected to more meticulous checks before the games. Due to hooligan threats, several investors have already withdrawn from financing the project, and club director Mark Koevermans recently resigned after the windows of his house were broken.

Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2022 and the venue is expected to be operational at the beginning of the 2025/26 season. This is two years later than originally planned. If the implementation of the new arena does not start, the area will probably not be revitalised, at least in the near future. Moreover, the city will have to adopt a new spatial development plan.

Author: Tomasz Sobura