Finance

Willem II seals ‘historic’ deal to acquire stadium

Dutch football club Willem II has reached an agreement to acquire Koning Willem II Stadion, its home ground, from the municipality of Tilburg.

Willem II, which plays in the second-tier Eerste Divisie, has been in talks with the city since 2017 over the purchase of the stadium. No agreement was reached but talks resumed in 2019.

Following various architectural and safety studies, rental and purchase scenarios were compared, which showed that there were three “strong arguments” in favour of Willem II purchasing the stadium. These were structurally lower housing costs, building up capital, and the possibility to better exploit the stadium.

Willem II subsequently hired a consultancy to assess the sale of the stadium and it was decided that there was a “conclusive business case” for realising the purchasing of the venue. A letter of intent on the purchase was signed at the end of 2021 and a few weeks later, the club and the municipality signed a definitive purchase agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, the stadium will be valued at €4.9m (£4.3m/$5m). Willem II will be obligated to carry out safety investments worth €3.5m, of which €1.5m will be contributed by the municipality.

The leasehold on the land will be worth €117,000 per year. The lease deal will run for three 30-year periods. Willem II said it holds the right to cancel the purchase if architectural inspections showed that the stadium does not meet the applicable architectural standards, or if the club does not receive the necessary financing to fund the purchase.

Willem II has agreed a deal for OLB Bank to provide €5.8m in financing for the purchase. A separate company, Willem II Vastgoed BV, has been set up to secure the purchase and maintain the stadium.

Martin van Geel, general director at Willem II, said: “The purchase of the stadium is a very important and historic moment for the club. Now that the purchase has been completed, the club can take advantage of its many opportunities and benefits. 

“Over a long period of time, many parties and individuals have put their heart and soul into this. It has become apparent that there is a lot of knowledge, skills and experience within our club. Partly by combining these forces, we were able to complete the purchase.”

Koning Willem II Stadion has a capacity of 14,500 and has been owned by the municipality since 2004.