LONDON: Manchester United have confirmed expenditure of £20m on upgrading Old Trafford during the close season but, as was evident during Sunday’s 4-0 win over Chelsea, that spending did not include big screens.
Old Trafford and Liverpool’s Anfield are the only two Premier League stadia without projection facilities which has meant the use of a formal public address announcement during the activation video assistant refereeing.
Off The Pitch quoted United as insisting that the work undertaken most recently was part of “continuous improvements.”
Colette Roche, Manchester United’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We continue to invest in improvements across multiple areas at Old Trafford to enhance the experience for our fans, including security improvements and significant improvements for our disabled fans.”
New additions to the 75,000-seater venue include the promised ‘atmosphere section’ for up to 1,200 fans, situated in the Stretford End first tier, and follows successful fan-led pilot tests over the past two seasons. Improvements have also been made to the concourse environment, which now have more food and beverage kiosks in the Stretford End Right Side.
Several hospitality suites have been freshened up while upgrades to a select number of VIP suites will deliver a better experience for fans and also “opens those suites up to more use on non-match days.”
United’s senior management expect these new elements to contribute to matchday income, which apparently accounts for 18 per cent of the club’s total annual revenue.
Currently, matchday revenue for the third quarter to 31st March was UK£31.1 million (US$37.5 million), a slight increase on the previous quarter. According to the yearly accounts for 2018, 2017 and 2016, matchday revenues were UK£109.8 million (US$132.4 million), UK£111.6 million (US$134.6 million) and UK£106.6 million (US$128.6 million), respectively.
Overall, on the back of third-quarter results in May, Off The Pitch says the Red Devils are forecasting annual revenue of UK£615 million (US$742 million) to UK£630 million (US$760 million).
The hierarchy at United have also decided to invest in improving the accessible facilities at Old Trafford. A total of 118 new wheelchair positions are reportedly being created, as well as 158 new amenity seats across four locations inside the stadium. The new additions aim to offer a much greater choice of vantage points for disabled fans, both at different levels and price points.
The new accessible facilities are set to be permanently in use from the 2020-21 season, making a total of 278 wheelchair positions and 278 dedicated amenity seats across the venue.
The 13-time Premier League winners are also reportedly spending UK£50 million (US$60.3 million) upgrading their training ground at Carrington, with additions including a new academy centre boasting eight full-sized pitches and a mini stadium onsite for youth games.
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