Newcastle United has engaged CAA ICON to conduct a feasibility study of St. James’ Park, with the strategic management consulting firm commencing its work by administering and running a fan survey gauging opinion on the Premier League football club’s future stadium options.
Newcastle said the survey could help to shape the club’s future stadium facilities, with CAA ICON to undertake the broader feasibility study before making recommendations for the future. The survey asks a number of hypothetical questions which Newcastle states are “not indicative of any specific development aims at this stage”, but are instead designed to ensure “comprehensive feedback” is captured from a range of supporters.
The survey poses the question of what would fans prefer, a renovated St. James’ Park or a brand-new stadium. This section reads: “Please assume that the new stadium would be a modern state-of-the-art facility that provided a significantly improved experience in all areas (for both standard seating buyers and hospitality buyers) compared to a renovated St. James’ Park.
“While both options would likely increase the overall seating capacity, a new stadium would potentially support an even higher capacity.”
The survey also addresses hospitality and club suites, ticket pricing, matchday experience and whether fans would consider attending concerts, women’s football matches and other events at St James’ Park in the future.
The launch of the survey comes after Newcastle chief executive Darren Eales last month confirmed that the club had started a “formal process” to assess the possibility of expanding St. James’ Park. During a supporter engagement event held at the stadium, Eales confirmed that a “world-leading” agency was looking at a stadium feasibility study.
With a capacity of 52,000, St. James’ Park is among the bigger stadiums in the Premier League, but expansion has been restricted by its proximity to residential areas. Since Newcastle was bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October 2021, the expansion and improvement of St. James’ Park has been a key priority.
In September, the club announced that a planning application for a new fan zone adjacent to the stadium had been formally approved by the local authorities.
‘St. James’ STACK, powered by Sela’ intends to be a food, drink and entertainment option for those attending matches and events at the stadium, as well as a midweek leisure and social destination. Sela is a Saudi-owned sports event, retail and rights company, which serves as Newcastle’s main shirt sponsor.
The fan zone, which is expected to open in the spring, will complement recent development projects around the Strawberry Place site, which sits in the shadow of the Gallowgate End. The land at Strawberry Place was sold off by United’s previous owner, Mike Ashley, back in 2019, before being reacquired by the club in February as part of wider plans by the Saudi owners to improve facilities at St. James’ Park.
In other news, Newcastle has agreed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Fenwick through which the department store chain will lend its name and expertise to the new ‘The Rooftops with Fenwick’ at St. James’ Park.
The Rooftops with Fenwick is one of St. James’ Park’s premium hospitality offerings and matchday experiences. It is located in the south west corner of the stadium.