English Championship football club Stoke City has revealed plans for a five-year development programme at the bet365 Stadium.
A £4m (€4.8m/$5.4m) initial phase of the programme, which will also incorporate Stoke’s Clayton Wood training ground, will commence at the end of the current season and is scheduled for completion ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
In the biggest project, the stadium’s Delilah’s Bar will undergo a complete transformation into a sports bar on the lower floor, complete with a new lay-out, the installation of large screen TVs, new toilet facilities and enhanced bar and catering facilities.
The club said the upper level will also be refurbished with “more of a function suite feel”. Both facilities will also be available for events and functions on non-match days. The existing kitchen on the ground level will be upgraded and a new kitchen will be installed on the upper level.
In addition, more than 8,400 new seats will be installed in the Franklyn Stand, bringing the seating in line with the rest of the stadium which was upgraded over the course of 2016 and 2017, whilst the concourses in the Tile Mountain and South Stands will be upgraded with new washroom facilities replacing those installed when the 30,000-seat stadium was built in 1997.
Various facilities in the West Stand will be refurbished and upgraded as part of this year’s programme. Meanwhile, the Chairman’s Suite and Boardroom, which are currently two separate rooms next to each other, will be converted into one room that can accommodate 60 guests. Stoke said the new facility will “bear all the hallmarks” of the most prestigious venue in the stadium.
Visiting directors and their guests will continue to be entertained in the room on match-days, whilst new and exclusive corporate hospitality packages will also be available to purchase. The facility, which the club is confident will be unrivalled in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, will also be available for hire on non-match-days for business events and private functions.
The Players’ Lounge is also to undergo a complete regeneration and will be made available for corporate or private hire on non-matchdays. The Stanley Matthews Lounge will also undergo a complete refurbishment to include a new display of memorabilia and imagery documenting the career of the city’s most celebrated player.
Richard Smith, Stoke City’s vice-chairman, said: “The work we will be carrying out represents the start of a five-year refurbishment and construction programme across our properties.
“Several of the projects we will be undertaking this summer are still out to tender but the total cost will exceed £4m and we are confident the work we are carrying out at the bet365 Stadium will significantly enhance the match-day experience for supporters.
“The refurbishment programme represents a significant investment by the club’s owners and underlines their continuing commitment to the football club.”
The work represents the largest stadium infrastructure project carried out by the club since the construction of the South East Corner Stand, installation of two big screens, matchday media centre and further provision of disabled facilities in 2017.
Smith added: “The work will not get underway until this season is completed so supporters will notice no difference to their matchday experience. However, we are confident that when they return to the bet365 Stadium for the start of the 2022-23 campaign they will notice a significant improvement.”