West Ham United Football Club have finally sealed the deal on the Olympic Stadium being their new home stadium as of 2016. The London based football side will be anchor tenants for the Olympic Stadium thanks to the UK government agreeing to put an extra £25 million towards the development of the stadium.
After this money has been added, the Treasury’s contribution will be around £60 million, whilst converting the stadium to something more suitable for West Ham United could cost between £150 million and £190 million. The deal was struck once West Ham had agreed to increase their own funding from £5 million to £15 million. The London side will have to pay £2 million a year in rent and can begin playing at their new park in August 2016.
West Ham are planning to extend the roof reducing the capacity of the stadium from 80,000 to 60,000 and they plan to have a retractable system set in place to make the athletics arena converted into a football stadium. There are plans to bring the seating forward to cover the running track so the fans are closer to the football action.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) have said that they hope for the roof to be ready by the Autumn in 2015, therefore in time for the Rugby World Cup. Following the Rugby World Cup, the stadium will close for some last minute changes before West Ham will finally start playing there in 2016.
West Ham United were always the favourite to win the bid for the stadium but a few months ago it didn’t look as though the deal would happen. Originally the club didn’t want to pay anything towards the reconstruction of the stadium but over time they agreed to pay a fee which now stands to be £15 million. There is also funding from London Mayor Boris Johnson’s budget, the Newham Council and the LLDC.
To guarantee the 99 year lease, West Ham made a deal that if the club was to be sold in the future, the LLDC would receive some of the money. They said that the club would pay some money back to the LLDC if the club was sold within the next 10 years, and the fact that they have made this deal shows the chairman’s (David Gold and David Sullivan) commitment to the club.
West Ham will share the catering and hospitality revenue with the LLDC but they will take all of the ticket and merchandising income. The formal name of the stadium is yet to be announced as is it believed that the name ‘Olympic Stadium’ will not be the name of the Stadium due to sponsoring reasons. If a major sponsor of the Olympics was to sponsor the stadium then maybe the name would be kept, but that is highly unlikely. West Ham and the LLDC will now work together to sell the naming rights of the stadium to a major sponsor.
Author Daniel Foster.
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