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Barça’s Plan to play away to maximize stadium revenue amid renovation

Camp Nou under construction / Relevo
Camp Nou under construction / Relevo

Barcelona planning to play many away games at the start of next season.

With the season underway and still a possibility of challenging Real Madrid for the La Liga title, Barcelona is already beginning to analyze and assess the logistics for the next season. If everything continues as planned, the first phase of the renovation works at the Spotify Camp Nou will conclude by late November. By then, the new Blaugrana stadium will open its doors with a capacity ranging between 60,000 and 65,000 spectators. It’s worth noting that it won’t be until the summer of 2026 when the stadium operates at full capacity.

Pending confirmation of the start date for the 2024/25 season, which could be the weekend of August 17-18, according to Relevo, FC Barcelona will request LaLiga for the possibility of playing as many away games as possible until the definitive move to the new Culé home, aiming to maximize the return on investment from the renovation works. In the latest assembly of club delegates, the club stated that the losses from the move to the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium will be around 78 million euros.

Barcelona’s plan is to commence the season away from home for the first three matchdays before the first of the three international breaks scheduled until the end of 2024. These initial away games, along with the FIFA breaks in September, October, and November, will allow Barcelona to play more away matches than home matches (at Montjuic), buying time for the clock. From December until the end of the season, the Blaugrana would play more matches at home to maximize the economic performance of the new Spotify Camp Nou, a request that LaLiga always seeks to accommodate for clubs.

This is an unusual situation, but it’s becoming increasingly common in recent seasons for clubs undergoing stadium renovations, as was the case with Real Madrid and Villarreal. The Madrid team began the 2022/23 season with successive away games against Deportivo Alavés, Levante, and Betis. The same happened with Villarreal, facing Valladolid, Atlético Madrid, and Getafe away from La Cerámica. Additionally, both clubs utilized the Qatar World Cup to expedite the renovations.

The trend is to maximize commercial exploitation of stadiums for all clubs to achieve extraordinary revenue whenever possible. For instance, this season, Real Madrid has recently requested to play the final matchday on a Saturday to allow time for setting up Taylor Swift’s concert, the American star who will perform at the new Santiago Bernabéu. In the past, they’ve accommodated Atlético Madrid with concerts by the Rolling Stones or Guns N’Roses at the Metropolitano, or Athletic Club, when San Mamés hosted the Rugby Champions League final in 2018. Given these precedents, it’s expected that Barcelona’s request will also be successful.