Text  Larger | Smaller | Default

NewsNow

Retractable seating back on the agenda?


Filed: Tuesday, 22nd November 2016
By: Staff Writer


The Olympic Stadium could be set for yet more upheaval after it was claimed that the arena's operators are currently considering replacing the much-maligned temporary seating.

Although West Ham fans were informed prior to the move to Stratford that fully retractable seating was to be installed inside the arena in order to bring the stands closer to the pitch, the reality turned out to be something quite different.

Instead of stands that have been installed on wheels, as is common elsewhere at grounds featuring running tracks, the (cheaper) solution provided at Stratford involves completely dismantling the stands after use (ie at the end of the football season).

And instead of the seven-day turnaround that fully-retractable seating would require, the current solution requires up to three weeks to implement - something that, it has been claimed, has led the arena's operators to consider ripping out the existing infrastructure, according to a source close to the project.


Not quite: Karren Brady promises "non-temporary, high-spec seating" in an OS promo video


"The big cost is not simply the dismantling and rebuilding of the temporary stands every time - It's the nine days it takes to do and the lost income that leads to," the source wrote on construction forum skyscrapercity.com.

"That means for a one day event, the Olympic Stadium needs nearly three weeks between football matches. Long term that means it is almost impossible to make money from because it means only the summer spell can be used.

"Spurs will soon have the option of a major all-year events programme; the O2, Twickenham etc all can too due to relative infrequency of use. The Olympic Stadium will find itself competing for events not only with those big venues, but with seasonal rivals too (the royal parks are now big venues for summer festivals).

"Since events are the main means of the owners making money, and with some weekends in summer likely to include athletics meets (a contractual obligation) and thus diminishing revenue opportunities too), the implications are huge."



Non-retractable - the current solution installed at the OS


The source also revealed how the stadium operators, LS185, and their partners were considering reducing the stadium's 57,000 capacity whilst work is undertaken - all of which could add another 50m to the stadium's costs, which already exceeds 700m.

"The owners are looking at a schedule, possibly one stand at a time of reduced capacity, to install actual retractable seating (with all the mechanics that involves)," the source added. "That is likely to cost tens of millions at best, and take years due to having to accommodate the sitting tenant.

"It may also see big payments made to West Ham if the contracts specify availability of stands for matches."

Speaking in a promo video for the Olympic Stadium move back in 2013, current vice-chair Karren Brady vowed to provide "state-of-the-art seating solution that delivers what we've always promised to our supporters".

"It's an automated system using drive motors that will move all four sides of the lower bowl forward," she said.





Related News

   arrow   The opposition view: Chelsea [10th Dec 2017]
   arrow   West Ham Utd 1-0 Chelsea [9th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Hart hard done by, claims goalkeeper's union [8th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Chelsea without key duo for West Ham clash [8th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Pre-match press conference: Antonio Conte vs West Ham Utd [video] [8th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Ludo reimbursed for ticket costs [8th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Action Group hit the road [5th Dec 2017]
   arrow   Khan seeking to recoup 'staggering' stadium losses [1st Dec 2017]
   arrow   Frustration for Hernandez [28th Nov 2017]
   arrow   Club to sponsor Club [27th Nov 2017]



Your Comments


Please note that this section is for comments relating to the above news item only. Any off-topic or abusive posts will be removed. Posts including either links and/or foul language are automatically filtered and will not be published. To engage in further discussion on any of our news stories, visit the KUMB Forums.

Not a member of the KUMB Forums? You may register for free membership here.

comments powered by Disqus
 
News Image




On This Day ...

One Year Ago
Peter Brabrook
Peter Brabrook, one of the stars of West Ham United's FA Cup win over Prest...more
Three Years Ago
Ex-Hammer hopes to land Albion deal
Former Hammer Alou Diarra is hoping to land a contract with Brighton & Hove Albion....more
Five Years Ago
Downes departure 'amicable', says Allardyce
Sam Allardyce has confirmed that first team coach Wally Downes has left the club....more