December 13 – The fractious relationship between Premier League club West Ham and their London Stadium landlords appears to have reached a break in hostilities with the club agreeing to pay about £450,000 extra per season to use London Stadium if the capacity is raised to 66,000 from the current 57,000.
West Ham have 97 years left to run on their lease of the former Olympic Stadium built for the 2012 London games at a cost of more than £619 million with further redevelopment costs of £274 million post Olympics.
The club pays £3 million a year in rent to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) but reckons the LLDC earns about £10 million a year from their matches once all revenue streams are taken into account.
That amount is disputed by the LLDC which claims that the rent it receives for usage does not even cover event day costs. Karren Brady, West Ham’s vice chairman, responded saying: “In our view (with many years of experience of operating a stadium behind us) we are staggered that the operating costs at the London Stadium exceed revenue. In our view, the actual elephant in the room is E20’s failure to manage the operating costs competently.”
That rancour promises to be ongoing, but with West Ham keen to expand stadium capacity and the LLDC are keen for money, finding a deal to suit both was a priority.
West Ham will not pay any extra rent beyond their £3m annual fee as long as the stadium capacity remains at 57,000. Once capacity increases to 60,000, West Ham will pay another £250,000 annually. They would pay a further £83,000 once capacity rises to 62,500 and around £33 per seat subsequently – a total of £448,500.
West Ham are to keep increase the capacity to 60,000 in the short terms and have committed to paying for any licensing, planning and physical improvement costs required.
West Ham won usage of the London Stadium following a competitive tender, though how much competition was actually present in the process is a matter of conjecture. For West Ham it was a stunning deal that enabled them to redevelop their old Boleyn Ground for housing and transition to a new home with almost double the capacity which they have filled for pretty much every Premier League game since.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org