The new owners of West Ham United football club have announced their intention to move in to London’s Olympic stadium - but only if the capacity is reduced to 50,000 instead of 25,000 as planned.
Joint chairman David Sullivan said the move would be a key part of plans to reduce the club’s £100M debt. He said it would also allow the club to cut ticket prices.
“We have got to look at all sorts of ways of bringing in revenue. We will be looking at everything, from saving money to bringing money in. We want to spend the money on the team not everything else,” he said.
London 2012 organisers have been searching for a permanent tenant for the stadium since London won the right to host the Games in 2005. A Premiership rugby union team was the last idea to be mooted, although nothing has been confirmed.
West Ham would be a higher profile tenant, but making the stadium meet its needs would demand a considerable redesign of the post-Games stadium.
The stadium design features a “stadium bowl” holding 25,000 permanent seats, surrounded by 55,000 demountable seats that will taken away after the Games.
Sullivan has acquired a controlling 50% interest in the club along with long-time business partner and friend David Gold.
A former student at Queen Mary College in Mile End, where he graduated in economics, Sullivan said both he and Gold were proud to be returning to their roots, having initially owned a stake in the club in the late 1980s. They previously owned Birmingham City, buying the Blues in 1993 before selling the Midlands club in October last year.