Swansea City FC Liberty Stadium Expansion Plans
Monday, 2nd July 2012Swansea City Football Club have ambitious expansion plans to transform their Liberty Stadium home into a 32,000-seater stadium. The Swans are ready to launch a formal planning process for permission to build a stadium large enough to enable an extra 11,500 fans able to watch Premier League football in South Wales. If granted building work will be scheduled to begin some time in 2013. The club have been told that they have the backing of Swansea County Council to see the dream of expanding the Liberty a reality but chairman Huw Jenkins has admitted the club won’t risk giving a final green light on the project – that could cost as much as £15m – until an unprecedented third season in the top flight looks like a reality. Jenkins claims the club are close to submitting a formal planning application to add extra seats on three sides of the ground, owned by the council and run by a three-way company involving the Swans, the local authority and the Ospreys regional rugby side. The work would bring the capacity up to 32,000 – and up to closer to the Premier League average. As it stands, only QPR’s Loftus Road has a smaller capacity than the Liberty while redevelopment would take Swansea past Reading, Wigan, Norwich, Stoke, West Brom and Fulham. A new TV deal with significantly increased broadcast payments kicks in for the 2013 season – including a potential base-rate payment of £60m – and would easily help Swansea cope with the costs of such a bold project. But the club know they have to move now to be in position to take advantage of that security, with a Swansea council confirming early talks have been held. Cllr David Phillips, Swansea Council leader, added: “We are very supportive of Swansea City FC and very much value the contribution their achievements are making to both the city and the wider Swansea Bay area.” Swansea have sold their maximum permitted season ticket sales again this year, leaving just 10% allotted for away fans and 10% ‘walk-up’ sales as per Premier rules with every game last season being a sell-out. Increasing the capacity would allow Swansea to increase match day revenues, although it is known that the club’s board of directors – fans themselves – are just as concerned with not alienating the scores of Swansea fans currently unable to watch their side in Premier League action. The club are also aware of the need to build a legacy from their time at the top, ensuring off-the-field facilities and infrastructure keep pace with the strides being made on the field. That will include youth systems – who are aiming to achieve category two academy status – and training facilities with work at Landore and due to start at Fairwood shortly.