West Ham United set for £9.5million-a-year boost on London Stadium deal within months
West Ham are in line to bank millions from a naming rights deal for the London Stadium that the LLDC chief executive is “very confident” will be signed this year, according to The Times.
Lyn Garner expects a deal for the Stratford ground to be sealed in 2023, with the LLDC and the Hammers splitting the proceeds 50-50 on anything over the first £4million per season.
This is despite the former Olympic Stadium being operated at a loss, with operations losing £31.1million in the year to March 31 2022 on the site which the Irons currently pay a £3.6million yearly rent.
Garner expects the arrangement to continue losing money for the taxpayer for the foreseeable future, unless a mooted purchase of the stadium is made by the club.
According to the executive, even if the expected naming rights deal is secured it would still leave an operations loss of £8million-£10million.
That would therefore mean, if a sponsorship agreement is reached that dropped the £31.1million figure down as far as £8million, it would be worth £23.1million per season, and with the first £4million due to the LLDC, the remaining £19.1million would be split down the middle.
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Money for a deal that the club haven’t even needed to negotiate seems like another bonus from the incredibly Irons-friendly arrangement to lease the home ground.
How much more could be secured if West Ham were sorting out the naming rights for the stadium under their ownership is up for debate, and whether it would incentivise whatever large fee it would cost to buy the stadium is another matter.
In theory it would boost the club’s net-worth to own the site in East London, which seems like the most likely reason Daniel Kretinsky or anyone else would consider taking it off the LLDC’s hands.
The corporation, and the taxpayer, would surely like that to happen as soon as possible, but amid a tricky ownership situation that is not set for resolution any time soon it seems like a remote possibility, despite sources close to the Czech billionaire suggesting he would be “open” to buying the stadium.
West Ham leaving Upton Park and becoming tenants of the London Stadium has been an unpopular episode all round, with just about everyone except the Hammers board.
While it does benefit the club to be on such favourable terms and with much higher attendances, it comes at the cost to the fans of losing their spiritual home for a ground which was not purpose built for football.
Improvements have been made in recent years and the run to the Europa League semi-final last season gave it some memorable nights, but the onerous burden on the tax-payer obviously makes the situation unpopular with rivals.
But with David Sullivan looking set to remain the largest shareholder for now it seems unlikely that he will be minded to change things, especially if nearly £10million-a-year starts rolling in as money for nothing.