Jordi Moix discusses upcoming Camp Nou research project
The Camp Nou will change, already it is being remodelled or renewed. There is a lack of guidance on the subject and FC Barcelona Director, Jordi Moix is pleased to correct that.
As head of economic and strategic area, he is enthused to be one of the leaders of the enormous project of making a new Camp Nou or rather entirely remodelling it.
Interview published by kind permission of Diario SPORT, 29 November 2012.
Photo: Ignasi Paredes
Chief Editor: Toni Frieros
Bold = Interviewer
Type = Jordi Moix
I have a doubt...
Recently, Sandro Rosell confirmed that the decision over the Camp Nou will be one of the most important in the club’s next hundred years...
And why was there not a single reference to this topic in the electoral programme in 2010?
It’s true, it didn’t appear as an identified issue. However, on a day-to-day basis we talk about our facilities, and, as a matter of great urgency, of reforming the interior of the Camp Nou.
It was during this internal debate that where we thought about increasing the capacity of the stadium, and introducing a roof...and, after greater analysis, we thought it would be worth studying other options.
And what steps have been taken?
We have created a “brainstorming” group, made up of Sandro Rosell, Javier Faus, Manel Arroyo, Didac Lee, Susana Monje, Silvio Elías, Vidal Abarca and myself.
So it’s raining ideas!
We ask ourselves: should we make a new Camp Nou? Where? Should we remodel the current one? We are definitely reaching a conclusion...
That we will not leave the city...the city wouldn’t allow us to leave either. The Camp Nou has to be situated in Barcelona. We are emotionally and commercially identified with the city. Also, if you leave, you complicate the access for 1000s of people.
I thought it was the opposite...
You must be joking! Think about it, Juventus have returned to Turin, the New York Giants have returned to Brooklyn, the Giants haven’t moved from Queens, the Lakers have gone to a more central location and Real Madrid disregarded Valdebabas.
Are there alternatives in Barcelona?
Very few that are realistic and practical. Get in a helicopter and you will see that the only sites are in Zona Franca, Forum, Collserola... the current location where we are situated, which we like, and the Zona Universitaria.
And have you spoken with them?
No. The City Council proposed an option to us which entailed swapping their lands for ours.
And to construct it next to the existing stadium?
It fits, but just. But let me tell you that all the options we are considering, like the integral reform of the Camp Nou, are being studied in terms of their viability.
There are 3 steps: it has to be economically, technically and urbanistically viable. If one of these steps fails, then the project isn’t viable. Also, and this is basic, the return of the investment has to be sustainable in order to design the least expensive structure for the club.
And how will it be achieved?
Adhering to that plan of viability. We have contracted 3 companies in order to be able to have a clear idea of the income, the costs and the physical spaces of the project.
What companies are they?
ISG is in charge of completing a study of the market. It has varied experience in the marketing of new installations and in configuration of viability studies to be able to make possible installations of this nature. They are in London and participated in the business plan of Wembley and in the subsequent marketing of its company boxes.
AEG, which is American. They are agents and also investors of installations and sports teams. The Staples Center, LA Lakers’ LA Live, London, Berlin and Shanghai’s O2 Arenas, they have invested in Galatasaray...They run the facilities. They provide experience in calculating the costs of these types of services.
And that leaves us with the 3rd...
It’s architecture and engineering firm ICON, whose headquarters are in Colorado and Berlin. They determine the [architectural and engineering construction constraints on the facilities] and the services that have to be offered, we need to know the spaces of those that we have at our disposal.
When will you have an approximate idea?
After Easter Week. We have allowed for 6 months and already we have conducted one and half months of work. However, already we have asked these 3 companies to first familiarise themselves with the idiosyncrasies of Barcelona.
And how will they do it?
Liaising with our marketing, ticketing, finance and installation departments...Remodelling a 100,000 seater stadium is not the same as remodelling a stadium with 50,000 seats...and that also is the property of 160,000 members. And another thing...
We will conduct a very in-depth study of the market, which we wanted to carry out in November, but because it coincided with the elections we have decided to delay it until after Christmas. A quantitative and qualitative study in order to gauge actual opinion...We want to know what the socio thinks...and what non-socios think as well.
There will be an outcry, will you attach a name to the Stadium?
These options are not foreseen,but I would like to convey to the socio that we have to be aware that a sacrifice will have to be made in realising this project. This adaption of modernising as a club will affect the socios in some form, such as arrival to the stadium and economically. As directors, we are not able to trick the socios. To provide better service, better provisions, a better team, better facilities, it’s difficult to carry out. We are looking for the best possible stadium with the least amount of investment.
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“The project proposed in 2007, unviable”
Moix doesn’t quote Laporta, he just speaks of the “project of 2007”, the famous redesign of the Mini Estadi: “You cant sell the vineyard to make a new house”. The redesign and the architectural tender meant to finance it we had to revalue our grounds, those of the Mini, and to sell them to a third party in order to make housing. We were left with far fewer hectares (the value of which was already considerable with upto 150,000 metres squared), whose price was not half of what the redesign project valued it at. And the services that you have to provide in order to fund the redesign don’t fit in the grounds of the Mini Estadi. On top of that you have to loan part of the estate on which the Camp Nou is situated. We would impoverish ourselves asset wise, we would be destroying the treasure that we have, which is the land of the Mini”.
Barca B will go to play in the Sport City
The azulgrana director explained that the new Palau will go exactly where the Mini Estadi is situated. Its viability is also being analysed by the 3 contracted companies: We have been very clear, the Palau will have a commercial name, but we need to know what spaces it will have, how many we need, if we will add an ice rink etc. It is all at an analysis stage...All the space that will be created between the Palau and Camp Nou will allow us to construct the services that we need, such as new offices, increase the size of the Nike shop, the erection of a hotel, provision of leisure and park zones for our socios, more restoration...” Moix believes that the new Palau will cost, approximately, €100 million.
Once the Mini Estadid ceases to exist, its current occupants, Barcelona B, will relocate to the Joan Gamper Sports City, where they will play on the pitch that is right next to the motorway. There, they will fit some stands to provide space for spectators that come to see the reserves. When there is a big game, such as against a team attracts a large following, it might be played in the Camp Nou. Whatever happens, the Mini Estadit will cease to exist because it has proved that currently it doesn’t make sense to keep it running.
The economic situation doesn’t help the club
The azulgrana director shows his concern for the current economic situation: “It is necessary to cover yourself because no one knows for certain the state of the financial market. You are able to have a great project, a great idea but if you can’t finance it, it is not very useful. When we see it’s possible, we will provide more transparency. We would like to, if it were possible, to complete it within a relatively short time frame. However, in this moment in time due the state of the credit market, the issue of real estate, the banking system, the possibilities of finding investment would be practically zero”.
Also he believes that Barcelona is lagging behind in this regard. “Our rivals have taken an important step in terms of real-estate. Many already have a new or remodelled stadium, and we are losing some competitiveness. Whereas, in other aspects we are out in front, such as in television rights, merchandising, marketing, the Barca brand etc. But in terms of assets we have to modernise in order to compete with other clubs of at our competitive level.