Arseblog News has learned that Arsenal will extend the capacity of the Emirates Stadium this summer by up to 10,500 seats.
Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has instructed work to begin as soon as the season finishes, and will draft in US firm Mortenson Construction to carry out the upgrade.
The job will involve removing large sections of the existing seating at lower and upper levels of both ends of the ground, and replacing them with narrower seats. At the moment each seat is 20″ wide so by installing new, slimmer seats, the capacity can be increased.
The insider told us, “Kroenke is determined to make this happen, he sees the capacity of Old Trafford as a target for Arsenal, and believes that this will help close that gap.
“He’s also convinced that supporters being closer together will improve the atmosphere, in the absence of safe standing he believes this is the next best thing.
“There’s no hope that ticket prices will be lower, so trying to sell people smaller seats for the same money may well be a tricky one. One idea mooted at board level is that those in the new seats might be given a voucher for the Armoury or discount pies to compensate them.”
Mortenson and Kroenke (KSE) have worked together before on the construction and development of the Pepsi Center in Denver, home of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, AFL’s Colorado Crush and NLL’s Colorado Mammoth.
The timing of the move might raise eyebrows too, when empty seats are par for the course these days, but the increased capacity would make the Emirates eligible to host premier events like the Champions League final which require a minimum of 63,500 seats.
It is also rumoured that with a new kit deal in the offing, Arsenal will become the first Premier League club to have officially sponsored under-armour.
The commercial team have been in discussions with a number of blue chip companies, with Calvin Klein said to be amongst the favourites after Chief Commercial Officer Tom Fox was spotted in New York lunching with Emmet Brown, a key player at the fashion label.