This week the Premier League clubs West Ham United and Tottenham faced off in a battle for the ages, this one was not on the pitch, but was rather waged over the control of the 2012 London Summer Olympics Stadium. The stadium which has been under construction will seat about 80,000 for the Olympic games and will be used for the opening and closing ceremony, as well as track and field events. Originally the plan for the £537 million stadium was for it to be converted down to a 25,000 seat stadium to host athletic and other events after the Olympic Games. In November of 2010, things got a bit more interesting when it was announced that there were two final bids for the stadium, both of which were coming from two notable Premier League clubs.
The first bid by Tottenham was also partially backed by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), who are famous for their work on the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and potentially a new football stadium in Los Angeles next to the Staples Center. Some had said that the AEG-Tottenham joint bid was a sure winner, especially after AEG converted the Millennium Dome into the O2 Arena, which is the world’s largest grossing concert arena. The bid for the Olympic Stadium was said to a minimum of £250 million to convert the Olympic Stadium into a 60,000 seat venue for both Tottenham and large-scale concerts. Tottenham’s biggest criticism seemed to be that the team is based a whopping 5 miles away from the Olympic Stadium, which is noted as being quite an issue for its supporters to travel.
The second from West Ham, U.S. based concert group Live Nation, and the Newham Council. This plan decided to keep the track around the pitch in the stadium, and convert the venue into a 60,000 seat venue for West Ham matches, concerts, as well as other future athletic events. It was reported by ESPN Soccernet that the Newham Council had given at least £40 million backing to the West Ham bid, which is said to be a conversion that will cost around £100 million. The main issue with the West Ham bid seemed to be that the team was going to move out of 35,000 seat Upton Park to a stadium with 25,000 more seats, making some think that they would not be able to fill the Olympic Stadium.
As things began to heat up in the battle, both bids were presented with arguments from both clubs in the London Evening Standard. In effort to try to make their bid even more pleasing Tottenham offered to even renovate Crystal Palace’s training facilities. Today it was reported by the BBC that West Ham’s bid had won, and that the Hammers would be moving in at the new tenant after completing conversion of the stadium after the Olympics. Where does that leave us? Well Tottenham will probably now have to go back and start looking at their plans to move just north of the current location of White Hart Lane and build a 56,000 seat stadium as they had originally planned, and as had been approved by the Mayor of London. That leaves Upton Park, which the club is claiming could be vacated and be used for redevelopment by 2014.