What Developing Anfield Would Mean to Liverpool's Ambition
The saga surrounding Liverpool’s expansion of Anfield has gone on for well over a decade.
The club have moved through three different ownership regimes, all with their own ideas as to how to move the club forward.
The recurring theme that has been at the forefront of all their plans though is making the capacity of Liverpool’s home ground considerably larger.
Whether that be the initial proposition to build a new stadium under David Moores, or the falsely promised “spade in the ground” from George Gillett and Tom Hicks, the people in charge have agreed the stadium is a priority.
Now John Henry and Fenway Sports Group finally seem to be making some progress.
Having decided that the expansion of the current Anfield is the best way forward, the club and Liverpool City Council are finally working together to see to it that whatever needs doing to trigger developments is done.
That gulf between Liverpool and Arsenal’s matchday revenue—over €60million—would be enough to buy a big-name, world-class player—a Mesut Ozil perhaps.
Not only would a signing of such magnitude improve the quality of Liverpool’s first team, but there would be a positive knock-on effect for merchandise sales.
Part of the reason Real Madrid parted with £85 million for Gareth Bale this summer was the hype such a big-money move creates. All eyes turned to the Spanish capital, and with both Bale and Ronaldo on their books, merchandise sales inevitably soared.
It is safe to assume at this moment in time that the increased capacity of Anfield will go directly into increasing matchday revenue, rather than subsidising the cost of tickets for fans.
The added 15,000 in Anfield every week, however, will allow more fans to see the team week in, week out.
That extra 35 percent of crowds will be made up of local matchgoers who have struggled against the demand for tickets of recent years; tourists, who bring a good revenue stream to the club through merchandise sales; and the city of Liverpool’s hotels and local economy.
Unfortunately, Liverpool don’t have the high-earning corporate draw of Arsenal, situated in North London, but they can compete as they do now by selling the atmosphere and history of Anfield and its fans.
A bigger and more attractive stadium also opens the door to further revenue streams—stadium naming rights, for example, and club-owned shops, bars and restaurants in the vicinity of the ground.
Having established a more level playing field with the teams at the top, Liverpool will feel their ambitions to be among them in footballing terms are further justified.
The stadium plans are the start of looking up in a cycle dictated by revenue: more fans on a matchday, more matchday revenue, bigger signings, bigger football (Champions League).
Of course, the construction of the new stands must go hand in hand with Brendan Rodgers’ continued construction of the team in order for the higher ambitions to be fulfilled.
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