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High cost of bringing football to Olympic Stadium


The consequences of failing to configure the Olympic Stadium for football are now coming home to roost. The Commonwealth Games stadium was built with Manchester City in mind, but Olympic chiefs decided not to go down that route in 2006.

Conversion costs could amount to as much as £150m on top of the £430m building costs.  The original £95m estimate has now increased by £20m to include upgrades to the 'no frills' stadium, including internal toilets, corporate hospitality suites, a new pitch, a partial roof extension and a reduction in capacity from 80,000 to 60,000.

An extra £35m is needed to fund retractable seats over the running track and a full extension of the roof to cover every seat.   Without retractable seats fans would be too distant from the action, while the roof at present covers only two-thirds of the seats.

Conversion costs of £95m have already been allowed for.   A further £20m could be covered by the development corporation's existing budget, but it is not clear where the extra £35m wouyld come from.

The stadium costs £5m a year to maintain.   West Ham's bid for the stadium is thought to propose an annual £1.5m rent.   If a naming rights deal could be secured it would produce £5m to £10m a year which would be split 50-50 with the development corporation.