REBRANDING of the Olympic Stadium has been delayed and a naming rights partner for the east London venue is now not expected to take effect until next year.
A blue-chip company had been tipped to buy naming rights by the end of last year, but a spokesperson for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park said a deal would not be announced before the Rugby World Cup, which starts in September and will be partly staged at the stadium. Any partnership would not take effect until 2016, when West Ham United are due to move into the venue, they added.
It is understood that the stadium would need to be unbranded for the Rugby World Cup, which has its own commercial partners, including Heineken, Societe Generale, MasterCard, DHL and Emirates. But the spokesperson said negotiations with potential naming rights partners were “progressing very well”.
Naming rights are being sold by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), who stand to take the bulk of the revenue from any deal. West Ham have said they are entitled to a share of the income as part of the football club’s 99-year tenancy contract. The LLDC’s then-chief executive, Dennis Hone, said in November 2013 that he expected the naming rights tender to be completed by the end of 2014.
French company Vinci has been appointed to operate the stadium, which is currently undergoing work to prepare it for the Rugby World Cup and West Ham’s move, including the installation of retractable seating.
Vinci already manages a number of venues including the Stade de France in Paris, the Allianz Riviera in Nice, the New Bordeaux Stadium and the MMArena in Le Mans. It has struck a 25-year deal with E20 Stadium Partnership, a joint venture set up by the LLDC and Newham Council, and is also tasked with attracting new events to the stadium.
The company officially begins its contract in April but has already begun planning, with a number of test events to be confirmed and set to be held at the reconfigured stadium this summer.
■ When conversion work is finished the Olympic Stadium will seat 80,000 for concerts, 60,000 for athletics and 54,000 for football matches
■ Some 21,000 retractable seats that extend over the running track are being installed to allow spectators to be closer to the pitch during matches
■ West Ham pledged a fee believed to be £15m up front plus an annual rent of around £2.5m for use of the stadium for 25 days a year until 2105