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Fenway Sports Group Decides To Expand Anfield

Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool FC have announced that they have decided to redevelop Anfield, rather than building a new stadium in nearby Stanley Park.

The project will cost an expected £150m and will increase the capacity from 45,276 to 60,000.

“This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved,” said Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre.

“But this is a significant moment. Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area.”

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Ayre said:

“The game of football today is one driven by high finance. You don’t need me to tell you Manchester United, Arsenal and teams like this who have a greater capacity clearly have greater matchday revenue. It’s one of the two or three key revenue streams that drive any major football club these days and if you want to compete, then you have to have as full a pot from each of those contributing areas as possible. Since I’ve been here, we’ve always been focused on improving that and setting that straight, but it has to be done in the right way. As we found out only two years ago, getting decisions wrong around the finances of the football club can lead to a major problem. We had to take our time – and we were able to take our time because of the support we had.”

I am not surprised at the decision by Liverpool to redevelop Anfield rather than build a new stadium. The American owners made the same decision when they bought the Boston Red Sox a decade ago and were faced a similar decision om whether to expand Fenway or build a new stadium. As they did with Liverpool, FSG decided to expand their current ground.

I would expect that the majority of the additional 15,000 seats at Anfield will be premium seats as Liverpool tries to close the matchday revenue gap that is has with Manchester United and Arsenal. What has to worry Liverpool fans is that after expanding Fenway Park, tickets to see the Boston Red Sox are the highest in baseball.

In a sampling of ticket prices before the 2012 baseball season, the average price of a ticket for a Red Sox home game was $151.10, according to Chris Matcovich at ticket aggregator TiqIQ.com. In second place was the Chicago Cubs at $108.70. That is a huge difference.

In five years will the average ticket price for a Liverpool game be the highest in the Premier League?