Villarreal CF president Fernando Roig recently completed 25 years at the helm of a club that, under his leadership, has grown worldwide, both in terms of sporting performance and in terms of brand and global exposure. As well as this significant anniversary, this month will also be remembered by all fans of the Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine) because Villarreal CF recently presented a major redevelopment project for the Estadio de la Cerámica, to offer fans the best experience possible in the club's centenary season.
Since Roig took over the presidency of the club in 1997, Villarreal CF have carried out numerous works to refurbish the stadium, which was then called the Estadio El Madrigal, meeting the venue’s different needs. Detailing this, Roig said: “When we had our first promotion to the top division, we expanded the stands. In 2005, when we qualified for the Champions League, UEFA told us that we couldn’t play at our stadium if it stayed as it was, so we carried out work on the dressing rooms, made the stands even larger and changed the entire pitch in just three months.”
But, the work on the stadium didn’t stop there and there have been other projects over the years. Roig continued: “In 2009, we built up the away stand, making it its own space with its own access. Then, in 2017, as well as changing the entire facade and constructing some new interior spaces, we applied a conceptual change to the stadium, renaming it Estadio de la Cerámica to promote an industry that is an engine of the local economy, which in turn became a new source of income for the club through collaboration with local tile companies.”
A definitive transformation
This is a club that is always looking to improve, both in terms of sporting performance and infrastructure. Those at the club believe the time was right for another project s, to “start the centenary year of 2023 (March 10th is the exact date) in style in a newly remodelled stadium”. There is also the fact that LaLiga fixtures will stop for one month and a half due to the World Cup in Qatar, so Villarreal CF won’t have to miss as many home games during this time, when the Submarino Amarillo will start the new season by playing at the Estadi Ciutat de València.
The club president added: “This new refurbishment will be the definitive transformation, enclosing the space where there is currently an empty corner, roofing all the stands and creating new interior spaces. In addition, we will make use of renewable energies, with solar panels, while we will change all the seats and upgrade the structures for television production.”
An improved experience and audiovisual equipment on par with the rest of the stadium
The aim of this redevelopment project, above all, is to improve the experience for supporters. The capacity will remain the same, at around 23,000 spectators, but all the seats in the Estadio de la Cerámica will be replaced. The explanation for this is: “Although we’re building a new stand at one of the corners, we’re going to open the Preferencia area (opposite the Tribuna stand) to make this part more comfortable. The plan is to have different types of seats at different prices, so that everyone can enjoy football in the best possible way. We want to create an enjoyable and unique atmosphere, for the fans to feel proud of their club.”
In addition, a new interior space will be created in the south end of the stadium with views of the city and of the pitch, with this space able to be used for events: The president added: “This new interior space is in addition to the new Restaurant El Ceramista, which is at the same end and just behind the goal. It is one of the most spectacular restaurants in the entire province of Castellón. We’ll also continue to have company boxes, grandstands and VIP boxes, so that local businesses can keep up their links with the club.”
As part of the process of improving the experience, Villarreal CF also want to have audiovisual equipment on par with the rest of the stadium. As such, there will be two new 21x7m scoreboards (about 300m2 of screens in total), a spectacular sound system and new LED lighting. The closing of the stadium will also improve the stadium acoustics to boost the atmosphere. Roig added: “We don’t want to only improve the on-site experience, we also care about the image that is presented to the world via the international television signal, so we’ll improve the television infrastructure and a SkyCam will be installed too.”
Generating a greater volume of business
The works will use 2,400 tonnes of steel, 12,900 metres for the roof, 8,700m of ceramic façade and 4,400m of micropiles, according to the club's website. For this transformation of the stadium, the club has an estimated budget of 35 million euros.
It is expected that this redevelopment project, which has already begun, will improve revenues related to ticketing and the use of interior spaces. The president added: “We’ll improve the club's image and the fan experience, while the new interior spaces can be used for events and training days for local companies. We’re also going to create a museum that we want to be innovative and interesting for football fans. With all of this, we also want new businesses to appear. We will improve our income and there will be a progressive return over the years.”