Everyone Is Pitching In To LLDC And Hammers Dispute!

All hell has broken loose as the LLDC has gone on the offensive gainst West Ham over the White Elephant that is the London Stadium. The very fact that it is still called the London Stadium hints towards rather inefficient guidance from those in control of the LLDC and E20 the company that is the 'figure head' of the 'beast'. How such an iconic and famous stadium can still be without a named sponsor after nearly three years beggars belief, by anyone's calculations there has been a massive lost opportunity for a decent financial return and the chance of some positive publicity.

How much more money has been spurned by the London Stadium hierarchy? Well even if you exclude the naming rights for three years, approximately £30 Million, there are a host of other sponsorship and revenue opportunites being missed. In July, it was revealed £450,000 of taxpayers' money had been spent on unsuccessfully searching for a sponsor for the venue, which cost £323m to convert into a football ground after an original estimate of £190m. It was planned that any sponsorship would offset some of the £140m losses expected over the next 10 years.

"West Ham's rent at their London Stadium does not even cover cost of staging matches", the ground's owners say, Lyn Garner London Legacy Development Corporation chief executive also said "high operating costs" and "a lack of commercialisation" meant they were facing "losses for the next 97 years". Garner then went on to say, "To be honest, what is really driving the problems here are the low rents paid by the concessionaires, particularly West Ham. The elephant in the room is the fee that they pay us in a usage cost does not cover the event day costs, and that's before we go anywhere near a commercial advantage. It simply does not cover the costs of running the events on a day-to-day basis. The stadium is a centrepiece of the legacy of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, it's really important that we tackle the public subsidy issue over the next few years, there is much to do and many reasons for it."

It was planned that any sponsorship would offset some of the £140m losses expected over the next 10 years. "West Ham United initially offered to purchase London Stadium but our request was denied. We were given a tenancy agreement because we were the best offer by far on the table," a club spokesman said. "As LLDC acknowledged at the hearing today the losses at the stadium are due to a number of factors, including the extraordinary cost of moving the retractable seating, inefficient operating costs and the absence of a naming rights partner. "There are other commercial opportunities that they have ignored. West Ham United have offered our experience, expertise and opportunities for shared endeavour every step of the way but these have so far been rejected, as well as considerable cash for additional rights, all of which have also been rejected."All we have ever done is honour the terms of our tenancy agreement which has 97 years to run."

Hammers have paid an annual rent of £2.5m since moving to the Stadium in August 2016. The Stadium has been dogged by controversy over its finances, in July it was revealed £450,000 of taxpayers' money had been spent on unsuccessfully searching for a sponsor for the venue, which cost £323m to convert into a football ground after an original estimate of £190m.

West Ham have offered to help the LLDC identify commercial opportunities and have only ever honoured the terms of their tenancy agreement, although on refelection it might have been better to have opted to pay a higher amount given the huge amount of money sloshing around the Barclays Premier League. The club have also offered to pay £300,000 to change the colour of the running track around the ground from green to claret but this offer has been rejected

Lyn Garner said it was rejected for a variety of reasons, including the fact "it could affect potential naming rights" deals, adding that they were in discussions over charging an annual commercial fee of "around £300,000" instead. "The usage fee is extremely low," she added. "We could take the £300k it's a drop in the ocean for the size of the losses we are dealing with and will be dealing with for the next 97 years of this contract. "But it's not unreasonable to ask the club to pay something extra for something they are getting back which is extra."

This 'dog in the manger' attitude would be appalling in any area of commerce, but to deny the public purse by refusing funds is tantamount to a betrayal of public office! Irrespective of the public's opinion of Hammers co-owners, one thing that has to be acknowledged is that they know how to make money, furthermore they have offered their not inconsiderable skills and business infrastructure to help bring the Stadium's finances more in keeping with such a large and potentially promising asset.

The LLDC's refusal to see sense will just end up with further acrimony, there is of course another option. West Ham United could buy the Stadium outright and run it as a proper business, the funding might prove difficult, but the second the 'White Elephant' is taken off the books, the tax payer will be saving from day one, instead of losing money the Stadium would make money, it would make even more if the running track was removed completely as has been successfully done in Russia following the Olympic events. The pitch could be lowered enabling much better sight lines and an increased capacity, possibly as high as 70,000.

In a way all the negative press regarding the Stadium has helped deflect attention from the team's lamentable early performances, but claret or green or purple, the outside of the pitch has little to do with results attained on the pitch itself, Manuel Pellegrini needs to dig deep to prevent a club that six weeks ago was continually referred to as 'Money Bags West Ham', but is now referred to as 'Crisis Club West Ham'. The spat over the Stadium can rumble on, the poor results can't be allowed to, there is no point in being at a stadium in order to reach 'another level' if that level is downwards to the Championship! - Ed

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Comments

West Ham United need to own this ground,if it has been offered to do so,then that is the action that needs to be taken,otherewise all this Bollocks will roll on for eternity.

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8 users have voted.
Dartford Bhoy's picture

ive being boring on this subject for years. One day West Ham WILL own the stadium as the tax payer will just not put up with continuing losses. I flew over the stadium yesterday coming back from Germany, it looks superb, proper land mark, I still rate the place and with a decent team / manager it will rock!!!

I am intrigued to know this lady at the LLDC has found a way of converting the stadium i.e. seat removal from £11M to £4M? Either done on the real cheap or as usual public monies in the past that just find a way of disappearing due probably to corruption.

Also, I thought that attracting sponsorship was a case of making money not losing money. How the hell can you spend £450K and still not get a sponsor.. again, public money!

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6 users have voted.

I Think they got this stadium by the cheapest method for themselves,handing out brown envelopes under the table and cosying up to the right people,so Gold and Sullivan could keep their money,but this has left a lot of loose ends and fastly becoming a fiasco,and would imagine a big headache for them,and of course their chief negotiator the Baroness,whom in their eyes can do no wrong.

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5 users have voted.
mcbikeman's picture

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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6 users have voted.
moore2come's picture

I can see these squabbles going on for the next 97yrs to be honest.

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5 users have voted.

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