Luton Town‘s Dream Of Premier League Promotion Comes With A Hefty Price
Luton Town Football Club Faces £10m in Ground Improvements to Meet Premier League Standards
Luton Town Football Club is currently third in the English Football League’s Championship division. However, if they achieve promotion to the Premier League, they could face £10m in ground improvements to meet the broadcasting and facility requirements of the top tier. Despite the club having secured planning permission for a new stadium at Power Court in the town centre, the Kenilworth Road ground, where Luton has played since 1905, requires significant improvement work.
Chief Executive Officer of Luton Town, Gary Sweet, noted that they would have to “pretty much rebuild” one stand in less than three months to comply with Premier League requirements. Although the club has played at Kenilworth Road for over a century, the ground has not undergone substantial improvements. The cost of the required work at Kenilworth Road is almost equivalent to building a new stand-alone stadium. Therefore, the club’s management team has a considerable task ahead of them to make the necessary upgrades before the start of the next season, should they achieve promotion.
The Hatters’ Current Situation
Luton Town has been performing well in the current Championship season, with a realistic chance of automatic promotion to the Premier League. They are in third place with several games remaining. A win in each of their remaining fixtures could secure them the second position and an automatic promotion spot. However, even if they miss out on automatic promotion, they could still participate in the playoffs to determine which team joins Norwich City and Watford in the Premier League next season.
Despite the prospects of playing in the top tier of English football, Luton’s CEO admits that there is a lot of work to do to meet the Premier League standards. The required upgrades will include meeting the broadcasting requirements of the Premier League, such as new cameras, improved lighting, and a better pitch. Additionally, the facility requirements include player facilities, medical facilities, and fan amenities.
The Challenge Ahead
Luton Town has been playing at Kenilworth Road for over a century, and the ground has seen minimal upgrades in that time. However, the upgrades required to meet Premier League standards will need to be completed within a short time frame of fewer than three months. The challenge is not only in the limited time available but also in the cost of the improvements.
CEO Gary Sweet explains that they need around £8m to £10m for the required improvements, equivalent to rebuilding one stand at Kenilworth Road. These costs may seem high, but Mr Sweet points out that they are a fraction of the cost of building a new stadium. The club has plans to build a 23,000-seater stadium at Power Court in the town centre. The budget for this project is around £100m, a significant investment that the club believes will firmly put them in the Premier League bracket. Nevertheless, the club cannot wait for Power Court to be built before upgrading Kenilworth Road.
Mr Sweet has stated that the club is “really good at keeping our feet planted to the ground” but also “feeling very excited.” The club is hopeful that they will achieve promotion to the Premier League this season and is preparing for the potential challenge of meeting the Premier League requirements at Kenilworth Road.
The Future of Luton Town
Luton Town’s plans to build a new stadium have been in the works since 2019, and the club has secured planning permission. The new stadium will provide modern facilities that meet Premier League standards, eliminating the need for extensive upgrades at Kenilworth Road. According to Mr Sweet, the club hopes to start construction on the new stadium at the end of this year or early next year.