(WFI) West Ham United are increasing the capacity at the Olympic Stadium to 60,000, making it the largest Premier League ground in London with Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
The club is adding 6,000 more seats to the 54,000 already planned to meet demand for tickets for the 2016/17 season. The club leave 35,000-capacity Upton Park, home since 1904, to move into the former London 2012 Olympic stadium in the summer.
West Ham’s decision to boost capacity was made with the London Legacy Development Corporation, Newham Council and stadium operators LS185.
Late last year, the club announced that the number of people registered on its season ticket list exceeded by five times the number of seats available. The West Ham board have since been working out a plan to meet growing demand, partly fuelled by the club’s good form. Under manager Slaven Bilic, the team have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals and could yet finish in the Premier League’s top four to guarantee Champions League football next season.
West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady said Thursday she was thrilled that thousands more Hammers fans would be accommodated in the new stadium.
“Today’s announcement is further evidence of the upward trajectory of this club,” she said. “We are on course for what could be our most successful Premier League performance ever and our ambitions to finish in the top six and break into Europe are very much within reach.
“West Ham fans are famous the world over for their wonderful support. They have demonstrated this once again at matches this season and in the way that they have embraced the move to the new ground. We are delighted to be able to reward that magnificent support by releasing additional season tickets and bring even more visitors to the park to enjoy all that it has to offer.”
Brady added: “The 2016/17 season looks bright for the team, the Club and our fans. Not only will we have one of the world’s greatest new stadiums, but now it will be one of the very largest in the world’s most-watched league – a stadium with both the quality and the capacity to match our ambitions.”
The club also announced this week that it plans to cover the outside of the Olympic Stadium with a digital wrap – measuring 83-metres by 12 metres – that will show video clips of Hammers heroes past and present on match days.
If the proposals are approved by the local planning authority, the club said the digital screens would be the largest in European football and set a “new benchmark in world stadia”. West Ham hopes the plans are green-lighted in the next eight weeks to allow installation May and July.
“The new installation will provide immense benefit to all partners of the stadium, enabling events throughout the year, including West Ham United matches, to have a highly-visible, cutting edge digital platform for content, information and promotional material, all in glorious HD,” the club said in a statement.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER