In 2017, football club Real Madrid announced plans for a major renovation of Stadium Santiago Bernabéu. The announcement came exactly seventy years after the location was first opened in 1947 and includes major upgrades in terms of capacity and tech-readiness.
Though renovations were delayed until 2019, a slowed 2020 season has helped get renovations back on schedule. With work currently underway, local fans are excited to see how a new shopping and dining center, hotel, 360-degree video screen, and a retractable roof will change their home field.
Already, the project is using creative means to continue construction as the regular season kicks off for Real Madrid. Builders are relying on ancient Roman techniques, along with handy advancements like ski lifts. In addition to revolutionizing the fan experience, Real Madrid officials believe a new stadium will elevate tourist destinations in the area.
Clearly, the project has invigorated interest in the stadium—but it’s also brought up just what, exactly, a stadium should include. As Bernabéu prepares to contend with other major stadiums like Westfalen and Camp Nou, there are five features that fans will be hoping to see.
Back when the European Super League was announced, many football fans across Europe decried the similarities between the proposed ESL and American sports leagues. Fans were emphatic that profit-driven leagues like the NFL stay on the other side of the Atlantic.
However, US in-stadium betting lounges have caught the interest of some. These lounges are specific to any one sportsbook, but provide a place for fans to place bets on smartphones while checking lines and deals from a variety of oddsmakers.
For example, a TheScore Bet sportsbook review highlights the group’s massive risk-free bonus, which is easier to find with punter-friendly areas like betting lounges. This creates a unique experience for fans—though Real Madrid might have to wait until their contract with Fonbet expires.
Emphasis on Environment
The emphasis on the environment is twofold. First, fans want to see efforts from Real Madrid to mitigate the environmental impact of Bernabéu. Though the club has been vocal about the new technology fans can expect to see, there hasn’t been much headway in terms of eco-friendly upgrades.
In fact, the city highlights how the retractable roof will cancel out noise pollution—but that’s not a priority for those looking to minimize a carbon footprint. So far, the only marked changes are the stadium’s walls, which will help insulate the building and reduce the use of heaters.
Second, fans also want to see more attention paid to seating organization. Many clubs have formal or informal areas where fans know to head for rowdier chanting or mellow viewing. A renovation is a perfect time for Real Madrid to develop these areas accordingly.
As mentioned above, eco-friendly initiatives go a long way in endearing fans to their clubs. At the moment, builders are working to expand and improve underground parking for the stadium. However, local fans would also love to see expanded bicycle parking.
There are currently three bike deposit stations around Bernabéu. However, cycling infrastructure in the surrounding urban area isn’t at its finest. Fans who attend games via bicycle are keeping their fingers crossed for better lanes in surrounding streets, comprehensive parking stations, and sufficient shelter for various weather conditions.
Fix Up the Museum
The museum that’s been nestled in Bernabéu isn’t a disappointment. In fact, stepping through the halls of reflective glass, which shelter the club’s ample trophy collection (and 13 Champions League trophies), is enough to give even casual fans goosebumps.
However, it’s undeniable that the museum has a sterile atmosphere. With millions of tourists filing through each year, it’s understandable that officials must prioritize visibility and spacing in order to accommodate guests. However, Bernabéu isn’t short on innovation—so why not find a grander way to highlight the club’s legacy?
After all, there has to be a better way to feature meaningful trophies and star players better than a slab of glass and studio lighting. Additionally, the photo wall that showcases every player that’s ever donned a Real Madrid jersey could be made more dynamic in its design by drawing the eye to iconic names.