No I’ve not won the lottery and will be back in my normal £489 season ticket seat for the next match but against Hull we were offered the opportunity to sample a prawn sandwich or two.
I’ve never been into the corporate section for a football match before and I have to say that I was completely taken aback by the opulence of it all. I can absolutely understand how people in that section of the ground are unaffected by any stewarding, catering or ticketing issues as the whole operation is run very smoothly indeed.
The food was good, the people are friendly and much to my surprise it is full of West Ham fans rather than corporate guests on a jolly-up who know nothing about football. In fact I found myself sat next to Tony Carr and another bloke who attends every away game and whilst it was relatively quiet in that section the stadium itself as a whole has been pretty tame of late. In fact I’d go as far as to say that the people around me shouted just as much as those in block 229 (my usual seat)
Clearly the distance from the pitch is still an issue but the view itself is fantastic and despite the team being very lucky during an uninspiring match it was easy to see the allure of the whole experience.
What is crystal clear is quite how much the club will have increased it’s revenue streams by having the expanded corporate lounges. It’s easy to get caught up in capacity talk when analysing the stadium move but this must be exactly the sort of thing that is going on at the Emirates and Old Trafford and it’s big business.
55,000, 57,000 or 60,000 fans. . . . . . . it all misses the point really. Clearly the biggest reason for the board to ‘re-brand’ and move stadium was this hospitality opportunity and all the financial benefits that go with it. This was a million miles away from my old stomping ground of the East Stand at Upton Park but whilst it’s a 5 Star/first class package there is not a team on the pitch to match so I do wonder how good the ticket sales will be for next season.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think but this was certainly a way of watching football that I was totally unprepared for . . . . . . and not a prawn sandwich in sight either.
Not watched the video yet but it looks as though it is The Royal East, it is a three year commitment in this hospitality suite, so they can be fairly certain of revenues during this period.