If a list of the most iconic football stadiums were to be made, Barcelona’s Camp Nou would rank near the top.
With a capacity of 99,354, it is a significant source of income for Barcelona. Being witness to numerous magical moments, it has a rich history. However, Barcelona will have to say goodbye to Camp Nou next season and maybe more. This is due to redevelopment work being done at the iconic venue.
Camp Nou redevelopment
When Joan Laporta won the election to become Barcelona’s President, one of his major campaign promises was the “Espai Barca” project.
Under this project, Spotify Camp Nou will be redeveloped to bring it along the lines of more modern stadiums. In addition, its capacity will be increased to 105,000.
Also, the areas surrounding the stadium will undergo large-scale renovation. This includes Estadi Johan Cruyff (Stadium of Barca’s women’s team and Barca Atletic), and Ciutat Deportiva Joan Gamper (training ground and academy).
This is how the new 'Palau Blaugrana' will look like after Espai Barça project.
– The Palau Blaugrana is home to various divisions of Barça such as Basketball, Handball, Roller hockey, Futsal etc.
– Concerts and shows will also be held in the new Palau.#fcblive pic.twitter.com/OdvWoWuyj9
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) March 30, 2023
Japanese company Nikken Sekkei beat 8 other bidders for the rights to lead this project for Barcelona. The project is expected to cost upwards of €1 billion. However, the hope and projection are that this will create a steady stream of income and maximise the overall earning potential of the club.
Where will Barcelona play their home games next season?
While the redevelopment work starts, Barcelona have informed Spanish football’s governing body RFEF that they will play their home games next season at Estadi Olimpipc Lluis Companys in Montjuic.
They will be following Real Madrid’s example. Los Blancos played out last season’s home games at their training ground as Santiago Bernabeu was being redeveloped.
When will Barcelona return to Camp Nou?
Barcelona are expected to return to Camp Nou by November 2024. However, the stadium redevelopment is expected to take till June 26. However, Barcelona have clearance to extend their stay at their makeshift home by a year if Camp Nou is not in usable condition by next year.
Furthermore, Barcelona are expected to use only 50% of Camp Nou’s capacity even for the 2024/25 season. This is because the renovation of the stadium will still be ongoing. For comparison, Real Madrid are back playing their home games at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium but work is still underway there.
The Estadi Lluís Companys is a stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
It is one of the most emblematic sporting facilities in Barcelona, the star of the Olympic Games of 1992.
It hosts important sporting and cultural events and there are also guided tours of the facilities. pic.twitter.com/fDmE7BSYew
— 𝚄𝙶𝙾𝙲𝙷𝚄𝙺𝚆𝚄⚡️ (@UgoOsinobi) March 30, 2023
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s temporary home, Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys has an estimated capacity of 55,000-60,000, which is nowhere near Camp Nou’s capacity, although far greater than Alfredo di Stefano Stadium (6,000), Real Madrid’s training ground where they played their games last season.
Crucial few years for Barcelona
After coming through years of financial turmoil under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona are now starting to become competitive again. Even though they remain embroiled in some scandals, including the recent referee payments one, the club has been defiant in the face of criticism.
Following the current president, Rafael Yuste’s bombshell announcement of them working on Messi’s return to Barcelona, the club is looking at all means possible to maximise their income.
Xavi: “Of course I love Leo Messi! I saw him growing up at Barça… and it’s also normal to see people excited with his potential return” 🔵🔴🇦🇷 #Messi
🏀 “Everyone would like to see Messi’s Last Dance like Michael Jordan!”, Xavi has added. pic.twitter.com/OaznrpT6pl
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 31, 2023
With the matchday revenue taking a hit due to the moving of stadiums, Lionel Messi’s return would be an effective shot in the arm of Barcelona’s finances.
Furthermore, it has been reported that head coach Xavi is close to agreeing on a new contract at the club. With the La Liga title this season in sight, Barcelona are looking to use this success as a launchpad for future wins. Laporta has preached the theory of the “virtuous cycle” ever since he came to power.
With the Espai Barca project taking shape, Xavi extending his contract and the potential landmark homecoming for Lionel Messi, the next few years could finally bring the club out of the darkness it has been mired in for years now.