Chief executive Beard sets out QPR’s vision for Old Oak

Chief executive Philip Beard says attracting new fans and generating income on non-matchdays must be among QPR’s top priorities if the club moves to Old Oak.

Rangers’ owners, fronted by chairman Tony Fernandes, are keen for the team to play at a 40,000-capacity arena which will be part of a huge development near Willesden Junction rail station.

With plans for the area to become a commercial hub with a flagship events-venue, as well as thousands of new homes, the project could generate a fortune if it comes to fruition.

And the club are hopeful that the establishment of New Queens Park – seen as effectively a new town – will enable QPR to appeal to locals as well as football fans in general.

Beard said: “Everywhere I go I meet people who are QPR fans who don’t come regularly to Loftus Road.

QPR hope to move in 2018.
QPR hope to move to the new arena in 2018.

“I think with a new stadium we would look to attract a broader, wider fan-base.

“If there’s going to be new homes in the area we’re talking about, then you’d like to think you’d be able to get new fans from the local area.

“If we go ahead with this we will be as close to Loftus Road as you’d have hoped to be and are almost going back to the home of Queens Park Rangers originally.

“But we need to grow our fan-base. We need to make the facility attractive not only for the current fans to come to but also new fans to come to, while also protecting the identity of the club.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that every single QPR fan who comes to Loftus Road is engaged and is passionate about what we’re trying to achieve at a new stadium.

“But if we’re going to have double the capacity, we’re going to need to make sure that it’s a facility that new fans and latent QPR fans want to come to.”

Beard says the club “have some very good people looking at logos, branding, identity and everything else” but that the immediate focus has to be on winning promotion back to the Premier League and becoming stable in the top flight.

In the longer term, if the move to the new complex goes ahead it would enable QPR to benefit from a number of different revenue streams.

Current plans include the building of a Wembley Arena-style venue next to the main facility, which would host concerts and the like.

Beard explained: “If a football club plays less than 30 games a season at their home ground, that means you’ve got 300-plus days a year when it’s not being used. That doesn’t make commercial sense.

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes
The project is crucial to Fernandes’ plans

“It doesn’t make sense from a football or business point of view and also for the community – if we’re going to put this right at the heart of this new area, it’s important that we ‘sweat the assets’.

“So, what we’ll be looking to achieve is a stadium that can adapt its areas and facilities for other events, conventions, concerts and conferences.

“The plan is to have a hotel on-site and we’ll be looking to win business [away] from core Central London venues and bring them out to New Queens Park so that we can use the stadium for other events.

“The initial plans have us building an arena on the site of the stadium for concerts, conferences and things like that.

“Our aim will be to use the facility for a lot more than just football, albeit that it will be the home of Queens Park Rangers.

“It’s really important that we understand that it is a home for Queens Park Rangers but it’s also going to be hosting a lot of other activities as well.”

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