Football: Real Madrid seal partnership with Abu Dhabi's IPIC, plan stadium overhaul

Real Madrid have agreed a long-term strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) that will strengthen the club's status as the world's richest, and help fund a planned stadium overhaul. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Real Madrid have agreed a long-term strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) that will strengthen the club's status as the world's richest, and help fund a planned stadium overhaul. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MADRID (REUTERS) - Real Madrid have agreed a "long-term strategic partnership" with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) that will strengthen the club's status as the world's richest, and help fund a planned stadium overhaul.

The agreement includes setting up Real museums and expanding their soccer schools around the world, as well as creating content for digital media platforms, IPIC, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

"The commercial arrangements will enable Real Madrid to meet one of its most fundamental future challenges, to convert the (Bernabeu) stadium into the best sporting venue in the world," they added.

Both parties had agreed not to divulge the length or the value of the deal, IPIC said.

Real became the first soccer club to amass annual revenues of more than 500 million euros (S$810 million) in the 2011-12 season and president Florentino Perez announced last month that income had surged to 604 million euros in 2013-14.

The European champions last year agreed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates that Spanish media reported was worth 30 million euros a season.

Real chose a design led by German architects GMP for the remodelling of the Bernabeu, which was opened in the 1950s and holds just over 80,000 spectators, at an estimated cost of 400 million euros.

The club hopes the work, which would see a striking new roof and exterior added to the current structure and include a hotel and a shopping centre, can be completed by 2017.