Premier League club Swansea City have taken full operational control of the Liberty Stadium in the Welsh seaside town and now plan to increase its capacity.
The club signed a new long-term lease agreement with Swansea Council after concluding successful talks with the authority and the Ospreys, who will continue to play at the Liberty.
The new deal sees the Swans take sole control of the Stadium Management Company and all stadium matters moving forward.
The move means the club can sell the naming rights to the stadium and look to increase the seating capacity.
Chris Pearlman, Swansea City’s Chief Operating Officer said:
We believe this agreement will help push the club forward by tapping into new revenue streams at the stadium.
It will now allow us to be more active in exploring the likes of stadium expansion, naming rights, sponsorship, catering revenue and enhancing supporters’ matchday experiences.
The more money we can generate, the more money we can reinvest in the playing side. Part of that is going to be from naming rights, but we are also looking at a phased approach.
If the research says we could look at add 10,000 seats, we are not going to do that on the first go around, we might add 3,000 to 4,000 initially and then another similar amount.
We are not that far along in the process but we will be cautious and careful in how we approach it, but we want to explore it and there should be a lot more detail over the next two or three months once we have the consultant reports which will give us a clearer picture.
Majority shareholders Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien earlier expressed their delight at the lease agreement which will put the club firmly in control of its own destiny – on and off the pitch.
This is a tremendous achievement and one the club has been working towards for many months.
This deal is a hugely important step towards the sustainability of Swansea City Football Club and certainly begins a pathway to stadium expansion, which we have always said was a key part of our plan for the club.
I’d like to pay tribute to Chris Pearlman and everybody at the club who have worked tirelessly in getting this deal over the line.
This is the realisation of months of planning and work that allows the football club to take control of its destiny. We want to give Swansea City the greatest chance of success and the option to potentially expand and allow more people the ability to come to games is a major leap towards that goal.
A unique component of the new arrangement is a commitment by the football club to fund the construction of two new 3G pitches in Swansea every five years for community use. Now that the agreement is in place the club will begin to focus on moving this initiative forward.
Rob Stewart, Council Leader, said:
This is great news for all concerned. For the first time the council tax payers of Swansea will see a return on the investment they made in the Liberty Stadium.
This is a deal that benefits the Swans, Ospreys and the Council. It provides the Swans with the freedom to commercialise the stadium, while the council tax payers who will not only receive an income, but also additional money from any stadium naming rights, plus the provision of new 3G pitches across the authority.