The Liverpool City Council yesterday extended Liverpool FC's deadline to start work on the Stanley Park stadium project while reiterating their desire to see a new stadium built as opposed to the redevelopment of Anfield. New club owners Fenway Sports Group have yet to decide which option they will pursue, but their history with the Boston Red Sox and their iconic home ground, Fenway Park, have led many to believe that they will choose to keep the hallowed ground as LFC's home. The reality is that FSG is still a business entity interested in increasing revenues while at the same time ensuring Liverpool's competitiveness with their peers, who enjoy larger incomes from tickets and sponsorship sales at their larger and newer stadia. Fans are almost universally in agreement that the Kop should remain the home of LFC, as it has for over 100 years; we understand the realities of the business side and want our club to succeed, but Anfield is a legendary venue, one of the most revered soccer cathedrals in the world, and home. So how does FSG move forward?
Building a new stadium has pros and cons, but at its core is the fact that it will cost hundreds of millions of pounds, take several years to complete, and will create lots of questions regarding the home field advantage Liverpool has built up over the years. It would allow for a larger audience (probably 60,000 instead of the current 45,000 or so) and would absolutely increase Liverpool's sponsorship opportunities, whether through naming rights, commercial properties, and promotional spots. Keeping Anfield and revitalizing the stadium and its surroundings would probably cost much less time and money, although the impact would probably be minimal as well. At Fenway Park, FSG was able to add about 4,000 seats through several different renovations within their tight space restrictions. At the same time, they have been able to sell out every home game since 2003, reaching almost 700 consecutive sell-outs, an MLB record. Could this same template be used on Anfield? The Red Sox and Liverpool share many characteristics in common, so it is not out of the realm of possibility for FSG to copy their successful ideas with LFC.
What do you think about the issue? This could end up being the most important decision LFC and FSG make in the next decade and has the potential to impact the entire future of the club? Where do you stand?