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The Renovated $1.9 Billion Soccer Stadium About to Play Host to Taylor Swift

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One of the world’s most famous stadiums is ready to host the world’s most famous pop star.

Construction has wrapped up on years-long renovation of Real Madrid’s iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium in the Spanish capital, just in time for the arena to welcome Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour for a two-night run.

When Swift comes to town Wednesday it will be the first international performances at the Bernabéu in over a decade and the first major event since the completion of a four-year, $1.94 billion renovation project.

Aiming to transform the Bernabéu from a soccer stadium into a premier venue for sports and entertainment, Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, spearheaded the renovation with an ambitious plan to generate revenue beyond traditional soccer matches. The renovated Bernabéu includes advanced technology designed to enhance the audience’s experience at large-scale events, such as concerts and even future NFL games.

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This stadium, which was the product of a visionary like our dear president Santiago Bernabéu, will allow us to continue aspiring to be leaders in sports, economics, and social aspects,” Pérez said in December.

Pérez is best known for successfully transforming Real Madrid into a global brand by bringing soccer superstars like Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham to the Bernabéu. As a result, Real Madrid became the world’s most valuable sports club for almost a decade until 2015, when it was surpassed by the Dallas Cowboys.

Facing competition from state-owned teams like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, Pérez investigated the Cowboys’ success and found that its home arena, AT&T Stadium was a significant source of revenue for the Cowboys even when the team wasn’t playing.

The Bernabéu has been home to Real Madrid since 1947, but will look like a brand-new stadium when the first Swifties enter the gates on Wednesday. The renovated building features a new façade, characterized by curved blades in stainless steel with a LED lighting system, a retractable roof, a 360-degree video scoreboard and four thousand new seats, bringing its capacity to 85,000. The renovation also includes a retractable pitch system designed to preserve the quality of the turf and facilitate the stadium’s use for various non-soccer events.

The project’s cost before interest stands at $1.29 billion, with financing through three separate loans. Real Madrid’s interim accounts for the 2023-24 season indicate that the stadium is expected to be paid off by 2053. Pérez assured club members that these costs would be offset by the substantial profits expected from the new multipurpose use of the stadium.

As part of this strategy,Real Madrid has partnered with the U.S. company Legends, which manages event sourcing and logistics for several major venues, including AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Legends has paid approximately $55 million for 20% of the revenue from non-soccer events at the Bernabéu over the next 25 years, starting with this week’s Eras Tour dates.

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