Liverpool FC Maintain Anfield Heritage

Hi everyone,
Liverpool have confirmed its intention to drive forward with plans to redevelop its Anfield home into a 60,000-seat venue, with the announcement set to bring an end to a decade-long saga surrounding the future of the stadium.

The English Premier League club and Liverpool City Council on Monday revealed details of a new partnership that sees Liverpool commit to Anfield as part of a major regeneration scheme for the local area.

Fenway Sports Group officials have wrestled with the choice of redeveloping the club’s iconic home or building a new stadium. The latter option was the one favoured by the troubled regime of Liverpool’s previous American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The redevelopment of Anfield is expected to cost around £150 million and would see its capacity boosted from the current level of 45,500 seats – an increase that will significantly boosts its ability to compete against Premier League rivals in the match day revenue stakes.

The mooted new stadium project at nearby Stanley Park was likely to have cost at least £300 million, a factor that has led club officials to increasingly sway towards the redevelopment option in recent months.

Liverpool has refused to completely rule out the prospect of returning to the idea of a new stadium, but Ian Ayre (LFC Managing Director) acknowledged that remaining at Anfield is the club’s No.1 choice.

“If you build a new stadium, for example, one of the big challenges is that, depending on the capacity, you build 15,000 or 16,000 new seats – you don’t get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you only get the difference,” he told the club’s official website.

“That makes it very difficult to make it viable because the cost of building such a big new stadium doesn’t work economically, particularly in this market. Added to that is the fact that I’d say it was very much the preference for our fans, the majority of our fans, and certainly for all of us. We’ve had some of the greatest triumphs in our history here, so it makes sense if there’s a right solution that this is the place we should continue to play our football.” [Source: Sport Business]

One of the most difficult aspect of the job of a football marketer is to accurately evaluate the prime and essential values of a club. To me, the most important club values are their home shirt (colours and design) and stadium. You touch one of these……you’re a dead man walking!

When it comes to stadium naming, clubs are often smart. Rather than giving a new name to an existing stadium, some clubs decided to… a new one!

Bayern Munich did not touch the Olympia Stadion. The German club jointly with Allianz built a brand new stadium hosting the two Munich clubs. When FC Bayern play, the stadium is lit up red, and when Munich 1860 plays, the Allianz Arena turns blue. How smart is that?

This way, the heritage of the old stadium is untouched, fans and marketers get a brand new toy to “play” with.
Liverpool FC took a similar smart approach. Keeping the Anfield heritage alive, but giving it a more modern look.

Karl Lusbec