Now that a ground share has been agreed for Coventry City FC at St Andrews for next season, thoughts will turn to the possibility that the Club may only return to play home games in the City if they can build their own stadium.
As happened around the time of the Northampton ground-share in 2013/14, the Club have been talking about building a new stadium in the Coventry area and have submitted initial outline ideas to the City Council about a stadium scheme on a particular site. No details of the size, nature, cost or of any supporting commercial development have yet been made available. In 2013/14, we were deeply sceptical about the Club’s intention or capability to build a new stadium and no real progress on that was ever demonstrated. We remain equally sceptical today.
To test the likelihood of that, a group of Trust members, including two accountants and a surveyor have produced an outline evaluation of the financial consequences for the Club of a ground-share long enough to allow a new stadium to be designed and built. We have also looked at the potential cost of such a stadium. The resultant financial conclusions are attached. Of course, ongoing operating losses will vary, dependent on actual attendance at St Andrews.
Assuming that the Club proposes a stadium with a capacity of 20,000, we estimate that a new stadium in the City might cost in excess of £52 million, based on analysis of new stadiums accommodating up to 25,000 people, built in England since the year 2000, with costs updated to April 2019, using construction cost indices. Assuming this is the Club’s intention, a ground share of up to 5 years and the construction, within that period, of a new 20,000 seat stadium could cost the Club a total of £82.6m.
Of course we do not know whether that is the settled intention of the Club’s owners or where a stadium might be built or how it would be financed. The resultant estimated cost makes us ask whether pursuing a new stadium is a practical proposition and whether it would be the best use of scarce resources?
Does a new stadium really make sense, either on economic grounds or for the interests of the Sky Blues Community? Coventry has a population of around 325,000. With its central midlands position, it is close to many other outdoor stadiums and indoor arenas. No one has yet provided a detailed business case that fits CCFC’s circumstances.
The Sky Blue Trust