Argentina: El Monumental close to second phase of revamp
source: StadiumDB.com; author: Tomasz Sobura
There is a good chance that River Plate's home will see the second stage of the modernisation in March. It all depends on whether it is possible to obtain the necessary funds to finance the works.
The second phase - a much larger scope of work
River Plate completed the first phase of renovation in 2020-2021. Works focused on removing the athletics track and improving the condition of the pitch. The playing field was lowered by 1.5 metres compared to its original position. A new hybrid turf was laid, 95% natural and 5% synthetic. It also received a new drainage system.
The second stage of reconstruction involves many more changes at El Monumental. The most important adjustment is the capacity increase from the current 72,054 to 81,000. This would allow Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti (alternative name) to become the largest football venue in South America. There will be 70,000 seats available for FIFA matches as the number of places in standing sections is not included.
In the place where the athletics track was once located, there are now tarpaulins, which are well-known elements of the decor of European stadiums under renovation. New sectors are to be created there that will bring spectators much closer to the events on the pitch (approximately 12 metres between the playing field and the bottom rows). In zones where there are still wooden benches, it is planned to replace them with plastic seats.
Additionally, there will be an exclusive restaurant overlooking the pitch, and 76 new suites. This will form a 360-degree ring of boxes, the total number of which is to increase to 180. The number of parking spaces is planned to rise from 500 to 1,300. As for the players and referees, they will have a new tunnel leading from the dressing rooms to the playing field.
Reconstruction to be financed from the naming rights deal
At the moment, the club does not have funds to modernise the facility, but that is going to change soon. River Plate is close to signing a $20 million naming rights agreement for its stadium. The contract is to last 5-7 years (according to various sources). It may not be much, but it should be enough to get the necessary work done. The club will receive most of this amount right away.
Three entities are interested in acquiring the rights to the name of the arena: a supermarket chain, an oil company and a global international firm. The latter did not disclose its name or the industry in which it operates.
The supermarket chain Chango Más, owned by Colombian businessman Francisco De Narváez, is the closest to signing the deal. The chain entered the Argentine market by buying 92 supermarkets in November 2020, previously owned by the American giant Walmart.
Unofficially, it is said that the new name for the venue may be Estadio Más Monumental, which is a neat combination of the sponsor's name with the present name of the stadium.
Work will start as soon as the contract is approved, and this could take place on February 15 during the general meeting. According to initial announcements, the upgrade is to last a year and will not interfere with playing matches.