European soccer remains generally outside the scope of this site, but I think I can make an exception for freakin’ F.C. Barcelona, which has announced it will conduct a major remodeling of its historic Camp Nou stadium rather than replacing it. The cost will be about $800 million, will run from 2017 through 2021 while the team still plays there, and will include added seating, new restaurants, and a new roof.
The cost will be covered entirely by Barça’s cash reserves, bank loans, and naming-rights fees, and as if that’s not enough to create culture shock for U.S. sports fans, check out this quote from team president Sandro Rosell:
“The option of building a new stadium on a new site has been rejected as the final cost could have saddled the club and its members with debt and tied the hands of future boards of directors,” added Rosell.
That’s eminently logical, and of course not at all the way we do things here, where fears of saddling teams with debt are typically used as a reason to demand public subsidies, not to scale back costs.
In other we’re-not-in-Kansas news, the Camp Nou remodeling will be voted on by Barcelona’s 222,000 members, since these fans are effectively shareholders in the team. I can’t even imagine what this system would look like if it were implemented here, since as we all know, voting on things is un-American.