Industry News

Liberty Stadium expansion to be gradual

Chris Pearlman, the chief operating officer of Swansea City, has said that the Premier League football club will be cautious when it comes to expanding the Liberty Stadium.

Last week, the Welsh club officially took full operational control of the stadium in a move that is set to open up new revenue streams and the possibility of expansion.

Swansea has signed a long-term deal with the city council following positive talks between the two parties and fellow Liberty Stadium tenant Ospreys, which plays in the Pro14 rugby union competition.

After the deal was signed, stadium expansion was one of the areas pinpointed by Swansea officials, with the 21,000-seat Liberty Stadium being the second smallest ground in the Premier League after Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

Pearlman said the deal would benefit all parties but highlighted the gulf in match-day revenue between Swansea and some of its Premier League rivals, namely West Ham United, which plays at the 60,000-seat London Stadium.

“With the second smallest stadium in the Premier League, our match-day revenues are half or even one third of West Ham’s,” Pearlman said, according to the BBC.

“They sell three times as many tickets as we do. We’re talking about tens of millions of pounds each year. We’re not going to go for 45,000 extra seats but if we can add another 5,000-10,000, that’s real money.

“And that money has a big impact on the club. The more money we can generate, the more money we can reinvest in the playing side. Part of that is going to be from naming rights, but we are also looking at a phased approach.

“If the research says we could look at add 10,000 seats, we are not going to do that on the first go around, we might add 3,000 to 4,000 initially and then another similar amount. We are not that far along in the process but we will be cautious and careful in how we approach it, but we want to explore it and there should be a lot more detail over the next two or three months once we have the consultant reports which will give us a clearer picture.”

Swansea has played at the Liberty Stadium since the ground opened in 2005.

Image: Christopher Elkins