In these modern times, it should not come as a surprise that the vast majority of the added capacity at the new Stamford Bridge will come in the form of hospitality and other various forms of "value-added" seating options. Here's a table gleaned from the 130-page Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report that Chelsea submitted to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham that breaks down the new seating plan. Obviously, this is not all set in stone yet, but it should give a good idea of how and where we're looking to make additional matchday revenue.
16520 Corporate seating inc Bronze level RT @cfcunofficial Taken from the Stamford Bridge development scoping report pic.twitter.com/TdXjLznpOU— Sid Celery (@sidcelery) August 10, 2015
It's not quite clear what the 6000 members-only "Bronze" seats will entail, though chances are they will fall in line with recent trends. Club-level seating is hardly a new idea, at least from a US-perspective; it's a big money-maker on these shores as well.
I take it the 6,000 new 'club area' seats are like Arsenal's club tickets - ie overpriced with a free pint at half time— cfc away (@Cfcaway) August 10, 2015
Where does that leave the "regular" fan? Well, just about in the same place as before. The proposed plans call for an increase of only 715 season tickets, which is a shockingly low number, though we do not have attendance data as far as current season ticket holders are concerned — i.e. how many seats go empty on any given matchday when season ticket holders, or other seat-buyers, decide to not show up. Whatever the reason, Chelsea seem to be placing more emphasis on general admission, adding 4000 more seats in that category. Most importantly, we'll also be doubling the number of seats allocated to juniors from 1500 to 3000.
We shall see how all this impacts the noise and the atmosphere on matchday, but adding twice as times as many expensive and corporate seats as cheaper general admission and youth seats is probably not the most inspiring start. The new stands and the roof of the proposed stadium should help of course — there's mention in the official documents of the design aiming to keep as much spectator noise in as possible — but the harsh reality of the business is that Chelsea need to milk the corporate money-bags to truly increase matchday revenue.
Friend of the Blog Dan Levene, and various other enterprising souls on the Internet, have trawled through the rest of the report to find further bits and pieces of publicly relevant information, so be sure to check out their work on Eurosport and The Shed End.
Based on the reports, construction should be starting as soon as this coming offseason, with work over the railway tracks, which doesn't actually require planning permission and thus can begin sooner than the rest of the project.
@cfcunofficial First phase of the development all scheduled to happen on railway land. Which requires no planning permission. Clever that.— Dan Levene (@BluesChronicle) August 10, 2015
The plans call for Chelsea to finish out season 2016-17 at the (old) Bridge, before relocating temporarily, probably to Wembley. The actual demolition, excavation, and stadium construction is still slated for three years, with Chelsea returning to the one and only home we've ever known in 2020.