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The Cost of Building a Soccer Stadium

It’s every fan’s dream; to move into a brand-new stadium to watch their favorite soccer team go on to dominate both on and off the field.

Because make no mistake, a new soccer stadium is more about revenue and future income than it is about the soccer team and the fans. 

The cost to build a professional soccer stadium can vary between $10 million to $1.5 billion. Smaller stadiums for lower-division clubs may cost $10-$50 million of dollars to construct, while larger stadiums for top-division clubs can cost everything from a hundred to over a billion dollars.

A club that invests in a new stadium knows its income will increase with more ticket sales, hospitality, executive boxes, sponsorship, and prestige. A new stadium is a statement of intent, and it can also increase the chance of your team being able to lure that star striker to the club. Everyone likes to play at a shiny new stadium with state-of-the-art facilities. 

The problem is a new stadium can cost an absolute fortune; a club has to do extensive research and planning before undertaking such a mammoth task. The costs can be prohibitive, and the returns, while very lucrative, can take years to recoup.

Arsenal FC is a great example of this; the Gunners had to cut costs for over a decade after moving to the Emirates Stadium. 

Results dropped for several years as the club stopped investing in the best players. Fast forward to 2023, and the club is now spending again, looking like title challengers, and has a stunning arena in which to play in front of 60,000 fans every week. Income is soaring, and the future looks very promising for Arsenal fans. 

If the benefits are so clear, why aren’t more clubs rushing to build a new stadium? It can’t cost that much, can it? Given the fact that the cost will be recouped over several years, why don’t more clubs simply expand and build new stadiums?

Here are some of the most famous soccer stadiums and how much they cost to build:

StadiumHome TeamConstruction Cost
Etihad StadiumManchester City£110 million
Allianz StadiumJuventus FC€155 million
Allianz ArenaBayern Munich€340 million
Emirates StadiumArsenal FC£390 million
Wembley StadiumEngland National Team€798 million
Tottenham Hotspur StadiumTottenham Hotspur£1 billion
Camp NouFC Barcelona€1.73 billion

Note: Depending on which year the stadium was built, today’s cost would be more due to inflation.

Recent Stadium Builds 

A solid example to dive into is the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, with building started in 2013 and finally completed six years later in 2019.

Initial estimates for building the new stadium were around £400 million. Incredibly, by the time the stadium had been completed and opened, the costs had spiraled to £1 billion. 

A great example of a new soccer stadium in the USA is the TQL Stadium of FC Cincinnati, a 26,000-seater stadium that cost around $250 million to build.

At approximately 40% of the capacity of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Cincinnati spent just a quarter of the money Spurs did, and yet came away with a superb stadium that will last the club for decades to come.

What Affects Stadium Costs? 

Many factors must be considered when costing a new stadium, and a club must ensure each is accounted for before proceeding.

Once the club has decided that renovating its existing stadium or even simply expanding the seating capacity won’t be enough, it’s time to start assessing the cost of a new build. 

Things to consider when planning a budget for a new stadium are: 

1. Where Will It Be Built? 

Location is everything, but when it comes to a soccer stadium, moving too far away from your roots can kill a fanbase and turn everyone against the club.

For clubs in large cities, relocating to a new stadium can be costly, and that’s if the club can find the land to build on and get planning permission. 

Smaller cities or towns might have the available space, but they need to ensure the fans still have access to the new stadium. Costs are usually lower, but so is the size of the stadium.

In cities where there are multiple clubs, it’s crucial to stay away from rival fan bases, so it quickly becomes extremely difficult to find local, accessible land on which to build. 

2. How Long Will Construction Take? 

From the second a club makes the decision to build a new stadium, the costs start to increase. Money is spent on design, planning, research, and dozens of other expenditures, and the stadium hasn’t had its first brick laid yet.

With increased costs and, as yet, nothing to show for it, the club needs to get the stadium built and opened quickly to begin recouping losses. 

Both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC are prime examples of clubs feeling the effects of building a new stadium.

It has affected cash flow to the extent that both London clubs have suffered for years, unable to buy the best players, and debt spiraling out of control. It has taken Arsenal almost ten years to recover both on and off the field. 

For Tottenham, the future looks bright; their stadium now brings in incredible revenue and has the ability to host multiple events, including NFL games, and is quickly becoming the cash-generating machine that the chairman, Daniel Levy, hoped it would be.

A club needs to factor in how long the stadium will take to build, and while building a stadium can’t be rushed, the quicker the fans are flocking to their new home, the better it is for the club financially.

Everton FC has been planning its new stadium for several years, and due to financial issues, it looks like delaying it for some time, which increases the overall cost. 

3. Design Features 

From undersoil heating to a retractable roof, modern soccer stadiums have the best facilities and are not cheap to build.

The more modern or outlandish features a club decides to incorporate into its stadium, the higher the costs will be to build. Once the club has its budget, it can determine which features they need and which are simply too expensive. 

Many features are prerequisites in modern soccer; undersoil heating, access for TV crews, and additional VAR facilities must be present for a club to meet the standards of the top leagues.

Each feature may be necessary, but they all add to the stadium cost. The days of four stands on each side of a pitch are gone forever. 

4. What Capacity Will The Stadium Hold? 

The more successful the club, the more fans it’ll invariably have, so the bigger the new stadium, the quicker the club can recoup its investment. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium holds 62,850 fans, and a full stadium quickly generates a high income for the club.

Even clubs with a smaller fanbase will always look to increase their seating capacity to generate more funds in the future. 

If a club in the lower leagues decides to build a new stadium, it is usually because there are new owners or investors in the club, and they see the growth potential.

A stagnating club will never build a new stadium, as they know it’s money that it will never see a return on. If a suitable plot of land can be found, especially in a major city, the club may also use the stadium for other events. 

5. Will Hospitality Or Other Events Be Considered? 

From rock concerts to NFL or baseball games, large stadiums in key locations have a prime opportunity to diversify and make use of their facilities when soccer games aren’t being held.

With most stadiums only used 19 times in a season, with the team playing away for the other 19 games, there’s a lot of free time for the stadium to be put to other uses. 

Several NFL games are played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium each season, and the stadium always fills to capacity, bringing in revenue and prestige for the club. It’s a great way to keep the stadium in use when Tottenham are playing away from their home stadium.

Across town at the newly built London Stadium, home to West Ham United, several Major League Baseball games are played each season, and the stadium was created with the extra space required to accommodate multiple sports throughout the year.

With an impressive capacity of 66,000, the stadium fills for both West Ham home games and MLB events. 

6. Fan Accessibility; Roads, Rail, Walking, And Buses 

Another massive expenditure when building a new stadium is the local infrastructure, particularly the need to have easy access to the ground on match days.

The cost of land is incredibly high anyway, but land that is close to rail and road networks is prime real estate. Building costs explode if a club has to build somewhere without easy access for fans. 

Fans should be able to walk to the stadium from local rail networks; there needs to be access to parking, and roads may need to be redirected or built from scratch to allow access to the stadium.

All these factors need to be taken into consideration before building, as there’s no point in having a 40,000-seater stadium if fans find it a nightmare to travel to games. 


Even stadiums with a seating capacity of fewer than 20,000 cost many millions to build; Rotherham United of the English Championship spent £20 million on their 12,000-seater stadium in 2012.

At the upper echelons of world soccer, clubs spend upwards of $400 million or more to create stadia that are the envy of clubs worldwide. 

Millions of dollars are spent before a single brick is laid, ensuring every issue and every opportunity has been accounted for in the designs.

The quicker a stadium is built, the quicker a club can begin to see a return on their investment, so time is as much a factor in the cost of building a stadium as the price of bricks and mortar. 

When a club decides to build a new stadium, the fans are naturally excited, it can mean the start of a new era, but it’s also the end of an era too. Many clubs have been at their stadiums for over a century, and regardless of how shiny and new a stadium is, you can’t buy history. 

The memories fans create while supporting their clubs are beyond priceless, so moving to a new stadium often brings a sense of sadness and nostalgia for a while.

In the end, a new stadium can bring vital money into clubs, allowing them to progress both on and off the field so perhaps building a new stadium for anything from $20 million to $1 billion stadium is worth it after all.

I listed the best soccer stadiums in the world in this post.