The Oval currently has a capacity of 28,000. Surrey County Club is set to expand the capacity of The Oval from the existing 25,500 to 40,000 for the 2023 Ashes. If that happens it is going to become the stadium with the highest capacity in the United Kingdom, surpassing Lord’s.
The redevelopment plan is estimated to cost the authorities around 50 million pounds. The Bedser stand has been in existence since the 1980s when it was built along with Laker and Lock stands. The authorities are for rebuilding that too, it would be replaced with 8000 seating facility.
“Our business has taken off over the last five years and our reserves have quadrupled in size along with significantly higher profits,” said Richard Gould, the club’s chief executive, on Friday (June 9). “This has largely been driven by T20 cricket and an increase in our non-match day business, but sales for international cricket also remain very strong. Most of our major games now sell out, either for county cricket or international cricket, and we need more seats to meet demand,” he added.
“We have already received a positive response from early discussions with the ECB and our landlord, the Duchy of Cornwall,” Richard Thompson, the Surrey chairman said. “We will now work up more detailed proposals and financial models to share with our wider group of stakeholders.” Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns the Lord’s stadium, is also holding discussions with its members with regard to raising its capacity.The Oval has witnessed many historic matches. England’s dramatic one-wicket win in 1902 inspired by Gilbert Jessop’s sensational hundred; Australia’s 701 in 1930 as Don Bradman (244) and Bill Ponsford (266) put on 451 for the second wicket; England’s 903 for 7 as they beat Australia by an innings and 579 runs in 1938; Bradman’s farewell duck in 1948; Denis Compton scoring the boundary which meant England regained the Ashes in 1953; Michael Holding’s 14 wickets on a featherbed in 1976; Devon Malcolm’s 9 for 57 against South Africa in 1994.
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