Hull City's long-term ambitions for 'a living sports environment' around MKM Stadium

Hull City's new owners have long-term ambitions to develop the area around the MKM Stadium into "a living sports environment".

In an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, vice-chairman Tan Kesler spoke about developing the land using Manchester City's Etihad Campus as an inspiration but not a blueprint.

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Manchester City's Qatari owners continue to develop the 80-acre site around their stadium, originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. City's training complex is on the campus, as is a mini-stadium used for youth and women's football, a velopark, leisure centre, sixth form college and office space. There are also plans for a 23,500-capacity indoor arena for concerts, basketball and other events.

AMBITIONS: Hull City hope to develop the area around their rented home in the longer term

Hull's 25,400-seater home was completed in 2002 at a cost of £44m. It is owned by the council and run by a separate stadium management company. With the football team's average league attendance this season just under half the capacity and the rugby league side only drawing an average of 11,377 in the early weeks of the Super League season, some sections have rarely been opened and the stadium as a whole is looking unloved and tired. Whilst that is something Ilicali will doubtless look at too, he is looking further afield.

“We have a significant amount of time left in terms of the lease agreement with the council, however, we have a rugby club struggling with their lease agreement," Kesler told Hull Live.

“We have a stadium which is now 20 years-old, there are some issues which need to be dealt with by the council which I’m sure they’ll support us 100 per cent with, but we want to develop around the stadium.

"This city needs a living sports environment. When they built that stadium that was the idea and the ambition so why not with our ownership take that flag and take it to the next level?

“This is not a short-term, in the next year or perhaps two years, we will touch upon that one with the council, and if we get the security of the stadium’s leasehold for a longer period, the chairman is willing to invest in the stadium and around it for a sports complex.”

Turkish television presenter and businessman Ilicali bought the club from Allam in January 2022, and arrived with all the energy, enthusiasm and ambition typical of a new football club owner.

Hull City had three seasons in the Premier League under Allam, but have not played in it since 2017, dropping into League One for a year last season.

Allam had plans for a hotel, a casino and indoor and outdoor training pitches around an expanded stadium, but all were based on acquiring ownership rather than leasing the land.

Kesler added the Tigers would not slavishly copy anyone else.

“What we need is our own model," he stressed. "We can be influenced and we can reflect on other models, for example, the City model is a good starting point but it can’t be applied to us. That’s unique and their ownership has a different vision to ours."