Hammers get stadium boost

WEST HAM’S hopes of relocating to the Olympic Stadium have been boosted after City A.M. learned that 2012 legacy chiefs are open to the club selling naming rights for the ground.

The Hammers hope to increase matchday revenue by moving into the £537m stadium in Stratford after the Games and have opened talks with Newham Council over a possible joint bid. A major stumbling block is that the cash-strapped club would need to find more than £140m to convert the 80,000 stadium into a smaller facility capable of hosting Premier League football.

Arsenal raised around £100m by selling naming rights and other advertising and merchandising benefits for their stadium to Emirates Airlines – and West Ham have been given the green light to explore a similar deal.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company, which will decide what happens to venues after the Games, is willing to discuss changing the name of the arena, City A.M. understands.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady told City A.M. on Tuesday: “If we did move we would most certainly be looking for a stadium sponsor, whilst remaining honest to our heritage and the fact that the stadium has been borne out of the Olympics, we’d have to be very sensitive to that.”

Arsenal’s deal is seen as a success but naming rights remain controversial and Newcastle were criticised for branding their home sportsdirect.com@StJames’Park.