According to journalist Sean Whetsone, West Ham is not considering purchasing the London Stadium, despite media reports stating otherwise.
As relays the WHZ, the Times had previously reported that the Hammers were considering buying the stadium, which has been their home since they left Upton Park. However, Whetsone suggests that a more probable outcome would be to follow the model of Manchester City and their stadium.
“Suggestions by the Times newspaper that West Ham could buy the London Stadium are completely wide of the mark.
“The former Olympic Stadium which is thought to have cost taxpayers up to one billion pounds to build twice and run at an annual loss of £30million so it is practically worthless without any government subsidy which seems equally unlikely.”
Manchester City successfully operates under a model where they signed a 250-year lease with Manchester Council and also acquired naming rights for the stadium. They pay a flat fee of £2.95m annually to the Council, but performance bonuses can increase this to £5.5m per year. This provides Manchester City with full control of the stadium and naming rights.
Following Manchester City’s approach seems to be the more reasonable option for West Ham, and it would be surprising if they chose any other path. Buying a stadium that is making a loss is not a logical move, even if the club has plans to renovate it into a state-of-the-art facility. Leasing the stadium and then selling the naming rights to a major company could generate tens of millions, which would be a wise course of action.