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Telefónica adds Real Madrid to stadium technology portfolio

Real Madrid has agreed a new partnership with Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica which is set to assist the LaLiga football club in its redevelopment of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Telefónica has agreed a deal to become Real’s ‘technological integrator’ until June 2023. Real said the telco will assist in the integration of technological solutions in the different facilities and infrastructure of the club during the next four years.

While specific details of the partnership were not revealed, Spanish newspaper El Pais noted that it will be similar to deals Telefónica struck with Atlético de Madrid and Barcelona in February. El Pais said Telefónica is likely to provide fibre optic technology, WiFi, security services and the incorporation of a big data platform that will boost the fan experience at the new-look Bernabéu.

Emilio Gayo, chief executive of Telefónica Spain, said: “We have started on a very exciting path for the coming years, with two large companies that are going to work together to confront and take advantage of the opportunities that the technological change we are experiencing offers us.

“I am convinced that throughout these years of joint work we will be able to develop a new qualitative leap in the experience that can be offered to fans in their different areas of relationship with the club.”

In May, Real awarded Spanish building and infrastructure company FCC Construcción the contract to handle the redevelopment of the Bernabéu. Real deemed the proposal put forward by FCC to be the most economically viable. The club also stated FCC’s proposal was the quickest way to carry the project out, as well as having a construction system in place that minimises any hindrance to the operating of the stadium and its surroundings during the work.

Real said the timeframe needed to renovate the Bernabéu is 39 months, meaning it would be finished by August 2022, plus an additional four months needed to develop the stadium’s exterior. The redevelopment work will take place alongside the normal sporting calendar and the stadium’s other activities.

The FCC deal came after Real Madrid in April approved a financing package for the redevelopment of the Bernabéu, with US financial services giants J.P Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lead the €575m (£517.1m/$644.9m) loan.

Through extensive renovations, Real is planning to modernise the 81,000-seat stadium, which has been its home since 1947.