FC Basel nets greater control of St. Jakob-Park ahead of revamp

FC Basel (FCB) has revised its lease deal for St. Jakob-Park, with the Swiss Super League football club stating the new contract will be an important part of the proposed redevelopment of the stadium.

Genossenschaft Stadion St. Jakob-Park (GSS), the body which owns the stadium nicknamed ‘Joggeli’, will now rent the venue to FCB in a “basic configuration” for a usage fee of CHF1.65m (£1.46m/€1.68m/$1.84m) per year.

FCB currently pays CHF3.8m per year, but instead will now bear responsibility for tenant fit-out at the commercial value and will manage and renovate the stadium at its own expense in the future. The Basler Zeitung newspaper said FCB has paid CHF5m to secure these rights.

FCB said in a statement: “The mutual advantages of the new stadium usage agreement can be summarised as follows. It simplifies cooperation and interaction, reduces the stadium rent for FCB and relieves GSS of the tenant expansion, for which FCB will be responsible in future. 

“This currently affects, for example, the renewal of the large stadium screens, which will be updated with a view to the coming season and will bring significant added value for the spectators in terms of the stadium experience.

“For FCB, the new solution means a substantial simplification in terms of annual rental costs and greater flexibility for investments in the interior of the stadium, which ideally can also be financed – at least in part – with suitable partnerships.

“For the GSS, the financial relief in the tenant fit-out is important, since the GSS has had a structural deficit for several years due to lower rental income and higher investment costs. In addition, the stadium needs renewal to be ready for the next cycle of use. The GSS will therefore submit an application for investment grants to the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft.”

In August, it was announced that St. Jakob-Park is set for significant redevelopment through a project that could cost up to CHF70m. GSS launched the ‘STADION+’ project in an effort to revitalise the largest football venue in Switzerland.

St. Jakob-Park opened in March 2001, but officials have recognised that the requirements for a modern stadium of this size have changed substantially over the past two decades.

GSS has developed the STADION+ vision in association with FCB and Herzog & de Meuron, the architecture company behind the original stadium. The redevelopment will be focused on sustainability under three key areas and is ultimately set to see capacity at St. Jakob-Park reduce from 35,600 to 33,023 seats, with the goal of delivery by December 2027.

Commenting on the new lease deal, FCB added: “The new usage contract is an important basis for the intended stadium renovation (STADION+ project) and brings valuable synergies for both partners.”