In the last week we have seen calls by former Leyton Orient Chairman Barry Hearn and then Labour Shadow Minister Chris Bryant to reveal the so called ‘secret deal’ that the LLDC completed with West Ham to become the anchor concessionaires of the Olympic Stadium.
Multi millionaire Mr Hearn who leases Leyton Orient’s ground for £1 per year for 1,000 years amusingly claims he is the champion of tax payers.
What secret deal? We know West Ham will pay £15m up front towards the conversion costs, we also know West Ham will pay between £2m and £2.5m in rent per year while they remain in the Premier League, dropping to £1.2m per year if we relegated to the Championship. The rent is index linked over the 99 year term so the rent will slowly increase with inflation.
We also know West Ham will share some of the catering and pouring rights but will not share any of the naming rights unless they sold for an overinflated price. West Ham will not be paying for policing, stewards, utility bills, pitch management or other associated costs in running the Stadium. West Ham will receive 100% of the 3,500 corporate seats and boxes and it will retain 100% of the ticket revenue for all matches.
My understanding is the only reason the deal has not been made public is due to commercial sensitivity on the discounted price West Ham received. The French stadium operator Vinci will operate the stadium and sell the remaining days to potential hirers. Obviously it would prefer that West Ham’s deal is not a public document in order to get the best possible rental and return for tax payers.
It is estimated West Ham may contribute over £300m in rent over 99 years which will be returned back to the tax payer once the index link and £15m contribution is factored in. However, the real value of West Ham being the anchor concessionaire is the draw of the West Ham and Premier League brands. LLDC are likely to sell the naming rights for over £10m+ per year together with extra advertising revenue using the LED wrap around the stadium. Add the extra revenue from renting the stadium out for 340 days per year it is not used by West Ham and the lucrative catering and pouring rights from all these events then you soon get eye watering numbers which will eventually turn a profit for the £702m invested.
Without West Ham, the Olympic Stadium would be a white elephant and would have cost the tax payer a fortune by remaining empty. Tax Payers should be thanking West Ham as we were the only viable option and our occupation helps create a real viable business creating local jobs and wealth.
As for super rich Mr Hearn, well we all know he doesn’t a stuff about taxpayers and is only interested in self publicity. MP Chris Byrant is only jumping on the band wagon to score political points with the government and it is nothing to do with championing tax payers either. Ironic in some ways as it was a labour government that was short sighted to get us in this mess by not making it a stadium for suitable for football un the first place.
In my opinion the West Ham Olympic Stadium ‘secret deal’ is great for West Ham and the tax payer.