England: The Citizens show concept for Etihad Stadium expansion
source: StadiumDB.com; author: Mateusz Osmola
Premier League regulars Manchester City have unveiled a proposal to expand the north stand of their home ground. The concept, which is at a very early stage, involves a significant increase of the capacity of the auditorium and creating a sizable fan zone. Now, fans and local residents are to have their say.
Will Etihad Stadium cross the magic 60,000 capacity barrier?
Manchester City's stadium was originally an athletics arena that was built to host the Commonwealth Games, which the city in northern England was hosting in 2022. The venue's initial capacity was 35,000 spectators. Shortly after the competition, the athletics track was removed and the level of the pitch was lowered. This allowed for additional stands to be built and, as a result, the fans found themselves much closer to the pitch.
Three temporary stands with a total capacity of 16,000 seats were dismantled and replaced with a permanent structure similar to the one on the south side. This work took almost a year to complete and increased the capacity of the arena to around 48,000 spectators. From the 2003/04 season onwards, the 'Citizens' moved into the venue. In 2011, the arena was renamed Etihad Stadium as a result of a sponsorship deal.
Between 2014 and 2015, the venue was expanded. An additional third level was added to the south stand, with a capacity of more than 6,000 spectators. With this treatment, the arena's capacity exceeded 54,000 seats. Now it is time for the long-announced modernisation of the stand on the north side. At the end of February, Manchester City unveiled conceptual designs for the proposed enlargement of the aforementioned stand and the construction of a dedicated City Square fan zone for 3,000 people. Supporters of the club and the local community have been invited to share their comments on City's plans, with time until 26 March to give their feedback.
What do the plans for the Etihad Stadium expansion entail?
The intent is to focus on expanding the north stand with one larger single upper level that will rise above the existing two-storey stand. The north stand is currently the only one in the entire stadium that still only has two levels. A fan zone is also part of the plans, along with a wide range of food and drink outlets, a club shop, a museum and a hotel.
There will also be a small workspace for start-ups and medium-sized organisations looking to locate and collaborate with the club, City Football Group and Etihad Campus. In addition, the 'Citizens' are exploring with partners across Manchester ways for fans to travel on match day to improve existing services. The club is also developing ways for visitors to travel to and from the stadium as part of a wider sustainable transport strategy. If the planning application is submitted and approved, the construction process will take three years and the work will be spread over a period of time so that matches can be played at Etihad without disruption.
Check out how Etihad Stadium stacks up against other Premier League stadiums: