If reports are to be believed, Chelsea FC could be temporarily relocating from Stamford Bridge. On June 30, The Blues unveiled their plans to expand Stamford Bridge’s capacity to 60,000 (currently 41,728). For a club of Chelsea’s reputation as a European giant with a large and growing global fanbase, a stadium expansion would seem a logical choice. Larger stadiums would generate greater match day revenues. Modern stadium expansions include development of local area with construction of offices, residential complexes, schools, hotels, etc.
Chelsea has in the past made unsuccessful attempts to leave Stamford Bridge and construct a larger stadium elsewhere. Redevelopment of Stamford Bridge is difficult since the real estate prices around the stadium are very high. However, Chelsea have now decided to expand at Stamford Bridge. To allow this to happen at the fastest possible speed, Chelsea are looking to temporarily relocate to another venue around the city for an estimated period of 3 years. Chelsea have now formally submitted an application to the board of the New Wembley Stadium with annual rent figures to be in the £11 million range.
They are set to face competition from Tottenham. Their London neighbours who will be moving into their new stadium in 2018/19, will also want to use the National team’s stadium for 2017/18. Chelsea want to move in at the same time. However, Spurs will need it for a single season. Spurs are offering £8 million rent. While Wembley is under pressure, the stadium can host a limited number of events throughout the year where the capacity can exceed 50,800. If either club applies, their capacity will be capped at 50,000 for home games and the top tier of the stadium will be closed (this is bigger than their existing home capacity).
Both teams would love to move to Wembley, but must keep their options open, especially Tottenham. By offering a higher annual rent, Chelsea is the frontrunner to be the new tenant of the stadium for 3 years. However, there might be a problem in scheduling of fixtures of the club, as cup finals in the Football League are all played at New Wembley. Chelsea might have to either play more mid-week domestic fixtures or play away when the cup matches are held at Wembley. These are scheduling problems that will need to be addressed but Chelsea’s offer will most likely be accepted by the Wembley Board. Tottenham might have to share the stadium with MK Dons or try sharing a stadium elsewhere in 2017/18 as co-sharing of Wembley is not likely to happen considering the hectic schedule there.
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