French Ligue 1 football club Nîmes Olympique has agreed a deal to acquire its Stade des Costières, with the stadium to be demolished and rebuilt in a project valued at around €230m (£206.4m/$261.8m).
Nîmes, which finished ninth in Ligue 1 last season, has reportedly paid €8m for the stadium, which is owned by the city. Opened in 1989, the Stade des Costières currently has a capacity of around 18,300 but is considered to be out of line with modern stadium standards.
French newspaper Les Echos said the existing stadium will be demolished at the end of 2022, or early 2023, with its replacement targeted for delivery by 2025. During the time of development, Nîmes is set to play at a temporary 10,000-capacity stadium in the ZAC Mas de Vignolles area of the city.
The deal has been agreed between Nîmes president Rani Assaf and Jean-Paul Fournier, Mayor of Nîmes. The new stadium is set to have a capacity of 15,100, with the development also set to include real estate development in the form of shops and hotels. The project will be financed by Assaf, the Franco-Lebanese businessman who is the second largest shareholder in French telco Iliad.
The agreement follows months of negotiations between the two parties. Concerning the vision for the new stadium, Assaf said: “We have to come back from the madness of grandeur, we have built huge stadiums and we cannot make them profitable.”
Assaf also said he will not seek a naming rights partner for the new stadium. He added, according to L’Equipe: “There will be no naming. I hate that. A stadium is not a brand.”
Image: Nîmes Olympique