AEG’s Olympic Bid

AEG has confirmed it’s joining West Ham United soccer club and Essex County Cricket Club as a contender to take over east London’s Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.

“AEG has expressed an initial interest in the future of the Olympic Park and, as the world’s leading sports venue owner and operator, it makes total sense for us to explore potential ideas for its future success,” an AEG spokesman told BBC News.

“At this time, we are reviewing the information about the venues to properly assess the legacy opportunities for all stakeholders, current and future,” he said.

AEG, which has already turned the old Millennium Dome from a white elephant into the world’s busiest arena, is believed to have declared its interest within the last week.

Baroness Margaret Ford, the chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, will be familiar with the U.S. entertainment giant’s achievement. She brokered the sale of the Dome to AEG while working as a government adviser.

The U.S. company is one of a reported 106 parties to express interest in assuming control of the venue after the Games.
Potential bidders have until May 17 to register their interest in the 80,000-seat stadium at Stratford, which was originally slated to become a 25,000-seater after the Olympics.

In July 2009, Baroness Ford announced a review of the process and said all options remained open.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company is expected to make a shortlist of about 30 preferred bidders by the middle of June. The final decision may be made as early as July.

Until AEG showed an interest, West Ham’s bid to convert the venue into a soccer stadium appeared the most viable plan for the new £547 million venue.

With its Premier League future assured for at least another year, the club’s new owners would prefer to see a capacity above the 60,000 mark.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said the level of interest in the stadium confirms there won’t be any white elephants in the Olympic Park.

“There is a lot of commercial interest in the park and that is very encouraging,” she said.