Design & Development

Bournemouth’s owner-in-waiting details stadium expansion plans

Featured image credit: Ungry Young Man/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Bill Foley, who is close to completing his purchase of AFC Bournemouth, has detailed plans to expand the capacity of the Premier League club’s Vitality Stadium, which is the smallest venue in the league.

It emerged last month that Foley, who owns the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team, was in exclusive talks to buy Bournemouth from its current owner, Russian-British businessman Max Demin.

Foley is expected to complete a £120m (€138m/$136m) takeover of the Dorset club in the coming weeks and has already set his sights on expanding the club’s facilities.

With a capacity of just 11,364, Vitality Stadium, formerly known as Dean Court, is the smallest ground in the Premier League. Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium, which seats around 17,000 fans, is the next smallest.

In an interview with The Athletic, Foley detailed plans for Bournemouth to eventually play at a stadium with a capacity of between 20,000 and 25,000. This would be achieved either by expanding Vitality Stadium or demolishing the ground and building a new venue.

Foley said: “We’re the smallest stadium in the Premier League and it just doesn’t work. You can’t get hospitality going. You can’t do a proper job on your sponsorships or your ticketing. We’re sold out but it’s because people have been buying these tickets for the last 20 years. We need a new generation to be able to go to games.”

Discussing a potential revamp of Vitality Stadium, which is currently owned by property investor Structadene, Foley added: “On one end of the pitch is a temporary stand, so that can easily be expanded to 5,000-6,000 seats with a double deck. As soon as we buy the stadium, if we decide to go that route, then we’ll get underway on that immediately because we have to have more seats.”

Foley also detailed plans to enhance Bournemouth’s training facilities and hopes the club can have a level-one academy within a year and a half.

Bournemouth announced back in July 2017 that it would begin drawing up plans for a new stadium on the Kings Park site in the town. However, in October 2018, the club conceded that it was “overly optimistic” when detailing plans to move into a stadium by the summer of 2020.

Bournemouth is currently 11th in the Premier League. The club was promoted back to the Premier League last season having previously spent five years in the top flight between 2015 and 2020.