Yesterday Celtic announced that the Sports Bar at Parkhead will be opened every Friday, Saturday and Sunday; this is a great idea.
New facilities at Parkhead should be open outside of match days, all the better to give people more reasons to be in the vicinity of the stadium. This should see an uptick in revenue, and not just from the bar itself.
This will increase the number of people in the club shop and on the club tours.
We’ve all wondered why Celtic hasn’t invested in more to do in the environs of the ground. We’ve heard about hotels and museums and all that stuff over the years, and it would have been nice to do it all but you need mega money to get that stuff over the line and you need to be convinced that there is a significant financial upside to spending it.
If this stuff costs you tens of millions and you’ll struggle to bring in profits of £500,000 every year, then you have to balance the needs in the here and now with putting cash into something that won’t pay for itself for decades.
This is why we don’t have that stuff already.
Celtic is focussed, right now, in putting the money out on the pitch. You could argue that this is a smart strategy.
But we should ever be open to doing more and giving the fans more options. This is a particularly fine one, as the new facilities, which have been open since October, look great and should be bring in some modest additional revenue.
The opening times are a little short – the latest the bar will be open is 7pm on a non-match Saturday, with their other closing times at 5pm – so it’s clearly not being marketed as a “night out” venue … no, this is to encourage people to be in and around the ground during the day and early evening. It’s a start, and perhaps later we’ll get longer opening hours and even weekdays.
It’s also a sign that some of those other plans, those grander plans, might not be dead … just in cold storage. If the sports bar project turns out well then it might just be that those others will be resurrected soon enough.
You get the feeling that the club is in the very early stages of a much bigger plan here, and I for one will be taking some time to check the place out as soon as I can. It’s an exciting time at our club.