Luton Town beat Coventry City in the Championship play-off final to earn promotion to the Premier League in a true rags to riches story, but the Hatters now face a £10 million bill for stadium renovations, in order to comply with the English top flight's broadcasting and facility requirements.
With the 2023/24 Premier League season starting on August 12, Luton have just 10 weeks to carry out the necessary work at Kenilworth Road to become an accepted outfit as per the regulations. If they're unable to finish the work in time, Luton could start the season with three straight away games.
But what specific work do Luton Town need to do at Kenilworth Road?
Well, as Brixton Hatter points out on Twitter, the media facilities, or lack thereof at Luton's home ground, need major upgrades.
The Bobbers Stand, which currently houses all of Luton's executive boxes, will likely be sacrificed for new press facilities. Media working areas are essential for Luton to meet Premier League rules for press and TV broadcasting, with a press conference room with seating for up to 100 people required.
On top of that, areas with internet connections for broadcast and print media are needed, while facilities for up to 50 camera positions, data analysis studios for TV and toilets and eating areas also need to be built into Kenilworth Road.
Currently the TV gantry sits above the Bobbers Stand, too, and while that will remain the case for next season, work is being carried out on enlarging it and cladding it in a non-flammable material before reinstalling the gantry back in its original position.
Elsewhere, lighting is a major concern that needs to be addressed as part of the rebuilding process. Stringent Premier League rules highlight how high power LEDs are essential at grounds in order to not dazzle players or spectators, while strict measurement points on the pitch relate to TV broadcast and VAR analysis.
As a result, the 118-year-old ground will require newly installed floodlights, with six new positions added around Kenilworth Road. These include two on top of the Kenilworth Stand, two the Oak Road End, and two on the Bobbers Stand. The five existing floodlights also need to be upgraded with high power LEDs.
Fortunately, Luton raked in £100 million for winning the Championship play-off final, meaning money won't be the problem when it comes to these upgrades. However, when considering that the club is preparing to move ground in the near future, to the Power Court stadium, these updates at Kenilworth Road would be extremely temporary.
The new ground isn't far enough along in construction that Luton could move in early, though, meaning the club has no choice but to implement these changes in order to adhere to Premier League rules.
"It's quite a heavy investment for football at that level for us and will firmly put us into the Premier League bracket," chairman Gary Sweet said about doing up Kenilworth Road. "But just to be able to get [the ground] ready now, just for maybe two or three years, is maybe more of a gargantuan task than building a new stadium."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.