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West Ham London Stadium – what's the latest?
Ever since West Ham left Upton Park and moved to the London Stadium in 2016, their supporters have lamented the decision. The vast majority of Hammers' fans believe that the London Stadium lacks the soul and atmosphere of the old Boleyn Ground and you won't find many away supporters who have visited the stadium that would disagree with them.
The idea behind the move was that it would help turn West Ham into a powerhouse in European football and allow them to grow financially. In fairness, the club did win their first-ever European trophy last season with the London Stadium a fortress for the club on their historic Europa Conference League run. However, recently published financial reports indicate that the stadium is actually making a loss.
West Ham rent their ground from the company that owns the London Stadium, E20 Stadium LLP. That company recently published their 22/23 accounts. The report makes for interesting reading from a West Ham and London Stadium perspective.
West Ham London Stadium 22/23 financial report
The most striking piece of information to take from the published report is that the expected future operating losses of the London Stadium are estimated at almost £232 million. The main reason for this projected loss is the costs involved in turning the stadium from a football ground to an athletics arena and vice versa on a regular basis.
E20 Stadium LLP, the company that owns the London Stadium (& is therefore West Ham’s landlord) publishes 22/23 accounts. Looks on the face of it a profit of £24m made but all of that & more is due to technical dweeby accounting issues, it made a significant cash loss in practice. pic.twitter.com/3C1vuuOvtw
— Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire) January 9, 2024
For reference, West Ham paid E20 £4m for hire of the venue during the 2022/23 season but the stadium incurred costs of £19m during that time period. As part of West Ham's rental agreement, the Hammers don't have to pay for heating, maintenance or cleaning within the stadium while they also get to keep all ticket and merchandise money.
According to many financial experts, West Ham have an excellent deal and e20's recently published report backs up that theory. The London Stadium is valued by the company at £0 because West Ham's 99-year lease is so cheap that it is highly unlikely any other company would ever pay any money to purchase the stadium.
Could West Ham buy the London Stadium?
Although the idea of another company purchasing the London Stadium seems out of the question, there is always the possibility of West Ham purchasing the stadium from E20. It's thought the club would likely get the stadium at a heavily discounted rate to allow E20 to get out of the deal and a year ago it was reported by the Times that the club were “open” to discussions.
The same report also stated that the £200 million figure offered by the the LLDC’s accounts a year ago to cover future losses related to the stadium was challenged by auditors at the time.
If West Ham did buy the London Stadium then they would be able to make changes to the stadium to make it feel more like the old Boleyn Ground. They could bring the stands closer to the pitch as there would no longer need to be room for a running track and they could even increase the capacity if they wanted to fit more fans in.
Perhaps in this case, the West Ham supporters would begin to warm to the London Stadium more and start to feel more at home.