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Barcelona set for Olympic Stadium stay, Camp Nou work to begin in June

FC Barcelona will spend the 2023-24 season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys after the LaLiga club today (Thursday) announced the timeline for a major renovation of its Camp Nou stadium.

The Camp Nou is set to be revamped as part of the wide-ranging Espai Barça project. Renovation work at the stadium will begin in June after the Barcelona City Council’s Governing Commission today approved the award of a permit to expand its capacity to around 105,000.

The work will initially focus on the first and second tiers of the stadium, as well as technological aspects, the environs of the stadium and “exterior urbanisation”. Actions inside the stadium will include the demolition of a structure in the South Goal zone where a medical centre was located.

Barcelona also plans on installing new telecommunications connections, relocating the stadium’s data processing centre, creating a new technical room for monitoring internal telecommunications infrastructures, and installing new facilities for the TV compound. Additional work will be carried out on the lateral zone car park.

The third tier of the stadium will not be demolished until the summer of 2023 amid uncertainty over the prices of materials due to the war in Ukraine. Barcelona said that demolishing the third tier earlier would have meant playing the 2022-23 season at the Camp Nou with just 50% capacity. Under the current plan, the stadium will operate at full capacity next season.

The demolition of the third tier will coincide with Barcelona’s move to the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. During the 2023-24 season, work will be carried out throughout the year and will Barcelona to spend the campaign at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, which has a capacity of around 60,000 and was used as the centrepiece of the 1992 Olympic Games in the city.

Barcelona will return to the Camp Nou for the 2024-25 season, but work will still be ongoing at the stadium and its capacity will therefore be reduced by around 50%. It is expected that the work will be completed during the 2025-26 season.

Back in December, then-Barcelona chief executive Ferran Reverter said that the club was considering playing at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys while renovation work is carried out at the Camp Nou. Club president Joan Laporta had already confirmed that Barcelona would need to spend some time away from the Camp Nou.

Barcelona also announced today that the bidding process for construction work has been accelerated, with the tender opening in July and the winning bid to be announced later than October.

In the coming weeks, the club will present its definitive modifications for the project to the city council. Barcelona will promote energy saving and efficiency throughout the project, with 18,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels to be fitted on the new roof. A new geothermal system and district heating and cooling system will also be installed.

The revamped Camp Nou will feature a 360-degree screen inside the stadium bowl to enhance the fan experience, while 5G connectivity will also be implemented. The total cost of the Espai Barça project, which also includes the already-completed Estadi Johan Cruyff, a new Palau Blaugrana arena and the Campus Barça development, will be no more than €1.5bn (£1.26bn/$1.57bn).

Earlier this month, Barcelona’s delegate members ratified the club’s wide-ranging sponsorship deal with Spotify, which was announced in March. Spotify will become the first company to hold naming rights to the Camp Nou, with the deal to run for at least 12 seasons.

Spotify’s name will appear on the façade of the Camp Nou’s main stand, with the company’s logo and letters to appear on the seats of the Gol Nord stand. The deal also includes front-of-shirt sponsorship of Barcelona’s men’s and women’s teams.

Image: Sprok/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size