Waning Interest In Olympic Stadium?

The UK’s determination to maintain the Olympic Stadium’s running track after The Games appears to have deterred several sports teams from submitting bids for tenancy of the new London building.

The deadline for bids closed March 23, and West Ham United soccer club and a consortium headed by the University of East London are reportedly among four interested parties.

The first round of bidding, which was aborted when Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient soccer clubs mounted a legal challenge to it, was said to have attracted 16 bidders.

Tottenham has decided to take some national and local government aid to develop a new site next door to its current home at White Hart Lane, while Orient has backed off because it doesn’t feel keeping the athletics track is a good fit for football.

The UEL bid hinges on the university being able to find uses for various parts of the building, including office space.

The university is also believed to have approached Essex County Cricket Club to be a partner, although the club is not likely to use the ground for anything more than a training academy.

Essex plays most of its matches on a 12,000-capacity ground at Chelmsford, which seldom sells out. There seems little point in moving to a 60,000-capacity stadium.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company’s need to attract a major sports team to ensure the stadium has a sustainable future would appear to favour West Ham.

The club, which is challenging for promotion to the Premier League, could be in a strong position when negotiating the costs of reconfiguration and putting in extra temporary seating for soccer matches.

The Daily Telegraph reported that AEG, which partnered with Tottenham in the first bidding process, hasn’t thrown its hat in the ring.

It wasn’t possible to get comment from AEG at press time, but – rather than aiming to be the anchor tenant – the U.S. entertainment giant may well wait a couple of months before bidding to become the entertainment provider.

Live Nation, which partnered with West Ham in the first bidding process, is also thought to be waiting until it’s time to decide who should run the concerts in the new venue.