Monumental: the Biggest Stadium in South America


Business has been boosted for River Plate who have recently become Champions of Argentina. River Plate’s stadium is one of its finest money making assets and the club are taking advantage of that like never before.

The Buenos Aires based club has expanded the fabulous Estadio Mâs Monumental. Making it the largest stadium in the whole of South America, and now they have plans to do even more. Further expansion work has been announced that will see the ground increase to a whopping 84,567 capacity.

The current capacity of the stadium is 83,196. Not exactly a bad number either. That number has been reached via various work over the last few years that have given the stadium an almost complete makeover. It has removed its running track and added a sparkly new premium tier.

The ground held between 74,000 and 76,000 fans after its renovation for the 1978 World Cup, which of course took place in Argentina. The stadium hosted both the opening game and the final when Mario Kempes led the hosts to glory in a 3-1 extra-time victory over the Netherlands.

Stadia are a massive revenue stream for football clubs who can actually only make money in a few ways. The football industry may be lucrative but keeping income above costs isn’t easy for any club. Player sales, sponsorships, TV contracts and merchandise sales are other key earners.

The television contracts and sponsorship deals in Argentina pale in comparison to those in Europe. Even for the likes of River Plate and Boca Juniors there simply isn’t the viewership that the likes of the Premier League or Champions League will attract on a global scale and so income is very limited.

Argentina’s economy has seen rates of inflation hit 140% in the last few months and the already small middle class have seen their bank accounts lose value daily. Merchandise sales therefore are not a substnatial earner for the club, they cannot charge the same prices that a club in Europe or the U.S might do and generally speaking the public haven’t got the same funds to buy. For this reason if you go to a game in South America you will see a lot more fake shirts being sold outside the ground than other places.

This is why stadium earnings and player sales are two vital income streams for River. From Julian Alvarez’s $23 million sale to Mancherster City to the likes of Lucas Beltran and his recent $13 million move to Fiorentina; River can be fairly confident that they can make a big player sale every year or two, providing key funds for the club. Perhaps Claudio Echeverri will be the next to go.

Finally, River Plate are now stretching every inch out of their impressive stadium, the Estadio Mâs Monumental. Mâs is a new addition to the stadium name as part of a naming rights deal that will see the club paid $20 million for a seven year contract.

Granted, a Premier League high flyer might rack up $20 a year instead of a seventh of that but in the context of wider South America River’s naming rights deal is huge. Barcelona, one of Ecuador’s top clubs, only receives $1 million a year for their naming rights deal and Universitario, perhaps Peru’s biggest club, receives just $140,000.

River have used their new naming rights deal to help fund stadium expansion. They have also sold thousands of three, five and ten-year premium season tickets to non-members in a bid to bring in capital to complete building work.

Now the club has added almost 10,000 tickets to the ground and every matchday income cycle. They have created a lot more noise with that and of course they now have the biggest stadium on the continent.

River Plate have struck a deal with the Argentine Football Association to host the national teams home games more regularly, and the likes of The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and Red Hot Chilli Peppers all have multiple concert dates booked in at the Monumental. This is all extra income for the club that every other team in Argentina simply does not have.

A new in-stadium restaurant as well as more boxes and hospitality space means River Plate have left a lot of their rivals in the dust by bringing their stadium into the 21st century just like some of Europe and North America’s finest. River Plate will be hoping that their Estadio Mâs Monumental plan leads to financial, and therefore sporting, success. Usually the two come hand in hand.

Source: FORBES