FC Barcelona’s squad have visited Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys for the first time ahead of their opening game at their temporary “home”.
The LaLiga giants will play Tottenham Hotspur in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday evening as they begin life away from the Spotify Camp Nou, which is being redeveloped as part of the €1bn Espai Barça project.
On Monday evening, Barca’s stars, including new players Oriol Romeu, İlkay Gündoğan and Iñigo Martínez, trained at the 55,000-capacity Estadi Olímpic as they begin to familiarise themselves with the venue that will be their home for the 2023-24 season.
Work to update Estadi Olímpic ahead of the move began in December 2022, with significant changes in hospitality areas, the VIP box, the press areas, the dressing rooms and the pitch. Furthermore, the drainage and water system has been updated as have broadcast facilities for television.
Barcelona said in a statement: “The work has been necessary for the stadium to meet the club’s need and the requirements of LaLiga and international competition.”
The Estadi Olímpic project has been organised into phases, with the first between December 2022 and mid-April 2023, with further phases in May and June. The final phase began on July 24 and comes to an end with the opening league fixture against Cádiz on August 20.
Other updates at the Estadi Olímpic include changes to the floodlighting, preinstallation of access gates, telecommunication networks and mounting commentary positions for television. Also, work related to the relocating of seats in the stands in the current exit channels for concerts, installation of seats in the VIP areas and the systems for sporting competition – VAR, tracking cameras and offside cameras – and the placing of dugouts and goalposts. Ticket offices have been created, along with merchandising areas and an OAB.
FC Barcelona estimated it will spend €20m in total on improvements at Estadi Olímpic, and that the move will cost them €100m when considering matters such as reduced capacity and matchday revenue streams.
FC Barcelona has worked with Barcelona City Council on a Transport Plan for people wanting to attend matches at Montjuïc. Fans have been advised to travel to the stadium on foot, by public transport or by bicycle with only accredited four-wheel vehicles allowed near the stadium.
Transport and infrastructure costs of €5.90m have been shared between the club and the local council, with the former contributing €3.32m.
The club will seek to return to Camp Nou during the 2024-25 season, when the stadium will operate with a restricted capacity of 66,000 across the first two tiers.
In May, work officially started on the revamp of Camp Nou, with the capacity of the stadium increasing from 98,000 to 105,000. The venue will also be fully covered by a roof.
The Espai Barça project also includes a new Palau Blaugrana arena for the club’s handball and basketball teams, and development of Campus Barça.