Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre says that club owners Fenway Sports Group are not considering selling the club and the development of Anfield is proof of their long term vision for the club.
The Boston based owners are following a similar path with Anfield as the did with the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park. When FSG bought the Red Sox there was talk about building a new stadium, just as their was in Liverpool, but both times the ownership group has decided to redevelop the existing stadium instead of building a new one.
In an interview with FC Business Magazine, Ayre said that the redevelopment of Anfield is proof of the owners vision and commitment towards the club:
“Fenway are not going to dispose of the club as they are clearly demonstrating”, he is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
The Anfield redevelopment is being funded through an interest-free loan from the owners of £115m which Ayre revealed should be paid back within five or six years.
The new Anfield stand, with an extra 4,000 seats and another 4,500 hospitality places on top of that, will generate additional revenue of around £20m a year. Add in a Main Stand sponsor of around £5m a year, and the expansion will generate around £25m a year in additional revenue for the club said Ayre,
“If we had increased capacity by 8,500 general admission seats only, it would have taken a ridiculous time to pay back the investment, meaning revenues into the team would have been affected.
“But the large corporate increase means we will pay the debt back quickly and not be saddled with debt, while quickly increasing revenues into the playing squad.”
And on the possible naming rights deal for the Main Stand when it opens in the summer of 2016/17, he added: “The commercial department is in talks with various people.
“We didn’t think that looking for a naming rights deal on a stadium as iconic as Anfield made sense, but there are real value and benefits to be had around a naming rights deal on the new stand.
“It is not just a question of how much a deal is worth, but more about which deal would allow the club and partner to enjoy the most benefit.”
From Ayre’s comments is sounds like the cash generated from the expansion will be first used to pay back FSG, meaning that Brendan Rodgers will not see any of that money flow into an increased transfer kitty for another five or six years.